Fritz Shurmur

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Fritz Shurmur
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1932-07-15)July 15, 1932
Wyandotte, Michigan
Died August 30, 1999(1999-08-30) (aged 67)
Suamico, Wisconsin
Alma mater Albion College
Playing career
1951–1953 Albion
Position(s) Center
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1954–1955
1956–1961
1962–1970
1971–1974
1975–1976
1977
1978–1979
1980–1981
1982–1990
1991–1993
1994–1998
Albion (GA)
Albion (DC)
Wyoming (assistant)
Wyoming
Detroit Lions (DL)
Detroit Lions (DC/DL)
New England Patriots (DL)
New England Patriots (DC/DL)
Los Angeles Rams (DC)
Phoenix Cardinals (DC)
Green Bay Packers (DC)
Head coaching record
Overall 15–29
Statistics
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
Super Bowl XXXI
Awards
All-MIAA (1953)
MIAA Most Valuable Player (1953)

Leonard Frank “Fritz” Shurmur (July 15, 1932 – August 30, 1999) was an American football coach who served as head coach of the University of Wyoming Cowboys from 1971 to 1974. He also served as the defensive coordinator for the National Football League's Green Bay Packers from 1994 to 1998. He was the uncle of Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur.

Early life[edit]

Shurmur was nicknamed Fritz as a baby, after his grandfather's cocker spaniel.[1] He grew up in Wyandotte, Michigan along with his parents and his brother, Joseph. His nephew, Pat Shurmur served as the head coach for the Cleveland Browns from 2011 to 2012.

Shurmur's father was a factory worker for 49 years in the suburbs of Detroit.[2] Shurmur's parents twice refinanced the family home so Fritz and his brother could have opportunities to attend Albion College.[2]

Playing career[edit]

Shurmur started playing football in high school at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte. Upon completion of high school, he attended and played college football at Albion College in Albion, Michigan. At Albion, Shurmur played center where he earned All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) honors, and was named the conference's most valuable player. As a complement to football, Shurmur also played baseball at Albion, where he earned all-conference honors.[3]

Coaching beginnings[edit]

Shurmur started his coaching career when he became a graduate assistant in 1954, under Albion head coach Morley Fraser. After receiving his master's degree in education administration in 1956, Shurmur stayed at Albion as a defensive coordinator.[4] In 1962, Shurmur accepted a job at the University of Wyoming as a defensive coach. He served on the coaching staff in this capacity until 1970. Following the 1970 season, he was promoted to the Cowboys' head coach and served through four seasons, amassing a record of 15-29.[5]

NFL coaching career[edit]

From 1975 to 1998, Shurmur was a defensive coach in the National Football League. He coached for the Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams, Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. For nineteen of those years he was a defensive coordinator.[1]

Shurmur became defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers in 1994. In 1997, the Packers won Super Bowl XXXI over the New England Patriots. Shurmur left Green Bay in 1999 to be defensive coordinator with the Seahawks when Mike Holmgren accepted the dual roles of head coach and general manager with Seattle.

Throughout his coaching career, Shurmur was widely known as an innovative mind on defense. Shurmur's coaching style was revered by peers in his profession for defensive genius. For example, in 1992 with the Cardinals, Shurmur had to devise a plan when two linebackers were injured. He developed a "Big Nickel" defense, that used five defensive backs close enough to the line of scrimmage to rush the passer or drop back into coverage.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Litsky, Frank (1999-08-31). "Fritz Shurmur, 67, a Coach Of Innovative NFL Defenses". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  2. ^ a b "Green Bay's defensive genius". South Coast Daily. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  3. ^ "Fritz Shurmur, Former Packers Defensive Coordinator, Dies at 67". Green Bay Packers. Retrieved 2008-05-07. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Fritz Shurmur Education Institute". Albion College. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  5. ^ "Wyoming Coaching Record". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Hank Bullough
New England Patriots Defensive coordinator
1980-1981
Succeeded by
Jim E. Mora
Preceded by
Ray Rhodes
Green Bay Packers Defensive coordinator
1994-1998
Succeeded by
Emmitt Thomas