Mike Holmgren

Former President, Cleveland Browns

Mike Holmgren signed a contract to become President of the Cleveland Browns on January 5, 2010 after agreeing to assume the position on December 21, 2009. 

In his first year as President of the Cleveland Browns, Holmgren made the successful transition from the NFL sidelines to a full-time role in the front office.  He laid a foundation for the organization’s commitment to the Team, Fans, Community and Heritage.  Perhaps the most visible project completed under Holmgren in his first year with the club was the institution of the Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor.  The initial class of Browns greats was unveiled on September 19, 2010, as the team’s 16 members of the Hall of Fame became the first group to have their names permanently displayed on the facade of the stadium’s upper deck.  In addition, the organization continued to maintain its position as a vital member of the community, whose impact can be felt by many.  The Browns contribute to causes which focus on citizenship, education, health & wellness and youth football, while also partnering with others who share the same desire.  Holmgren also is leading the Browns’ charge as the club serves as the catalyst for the development of Cleveland’s Lakefront District.

Holmgren came to the Browns with a remarkable résumé as an NFL head coach, one which included 14 winning seasons in 17 overall campaigns, 12 playoff berths, eight division championships, three Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl title.  His 174 combined victories in the regular season and playoffs rank as the 11th-most in NFL history.

Most recently, Holmgren was the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks from 1999-2008.  He guided the club to a 10-year regular season record of 86-74 (.538), giving him the most victories of any coach in that franchise’s history.  His crowning achievement in Seattle occurred in 2005, when the Seahawks posted a regular season record of 13-3, captured the NFC West title and went on to play in Super Bowl XL before falling to Pittsburgh, 21-10.

In Holmgren’s 10 seasons at the helm of the Seahawks, the club advanced to the playoffs on six occasions, two more times than they did in the previous 23 years of existence.  In fact, Holmgren’s first year with the club resulted in a 9-7 record and the AFC West title, marking the team’s first winning record since 1990, and its initial playoff appearance and divisional crown since 1988.

Holmgren originally came to the Seahawks as Executive Vice President/General Manager & Head Coach on January 9, 1999.  Following the 2002 season, he decided to focus solely on coaching, relinquishing his duties as general manager.

Before joining Seattle, Holmgren experienced a tremendous seven-year run as head coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1992-98.   His first season saw the Packers post a 9-7 record, a five-game improvement from the year prior to his arrival.  Just twice in the previous 19 years before Holmgren’s tenure had the Packers produced winning records.  By year two of Holmgren’s stint, Green Bay found itself not only in the playoffs, but winners of an NFC Wild Card game over Detroit.   During his tenure in Green Bay, the Packers compiled a regular season record of 75-37 (.670), tying them with Dallas for the second-most victories in the NFL over this seven-year stretch (San Francisco, 85).  Including the playoffs, Holmgren’s teams compiled a record of 84-42 (.667), giving him the third-most wins of any coach in the Packers’ storied history, trailing only Hall of Famers Curly Lambeau (212-106-21) and Vince Lombardi (98-30-4).  Holmgren’s winning percentage of .667 is second-best, trailing only the mark of .758 by Lombardi. 

Holmgren’s postseason success in Green Bay was equally as impressive.  He led the Packers to the playoffs in each of his final six seasons, as they advanced to at least the Divisional round on five occasions, including three trips to the NFC Championship Game.  The 1996 season marked the return of the Lombardi Trophy to Green Bay, as the Packers posted a 13-3 regular season record and marched through the playoffs, culminating in a 35-21 win over New England in Super Bowl XXXI.  Green Bay also reached the Super Bowl the following year before falling to Denver, 31-24.    Holmgren’s 1996 club led the league in both points scored (team-record 456) and points allowed (210), one of only 12 teams in NFL history to accomplish the feat and the first since the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

By winning at least one postseason game in five consecutive seasons (1993-97), Holmgren is one of only three coaches in NFL history to have achieved the feat, along with John Madden (Oakland, 1973-77) and Bill Belichick (New England, 2003-07).  In addition, Holmgren is one of only five head coaches in NFL history to lead two different franchises to the Super Bowl, joining Don Shula (Baltimore, Miami), Bill Parcells (N.Y. Giants, New England), Dan Reeves (Denver, Atlanta) and Dick Vermeil (Philadelphia, St. Louis).

Holmgren joined the NFL head coaching fraternity with pedigree on his side, having tutored under Hall of Famer Bill Walsh with the San Francisco 49ers, while Holmgren was an assistant from 1986-91 (1986-88 under Walsh).  Holmgren’s first three years by the Bay were spent as quarterbacks coach, while he served as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach over the final three seasons.  In those six years, the 49ers boasted five NFC West titles and a pair of Super Bowl championships.

Overall in 23 seasons as both an assistant and head coach in the NFL, Holmgren has been a part of teams that have put together a composite regular season record of 232-134-1 (.634), reached  double-digit win totals on 13 occasions, earned 17 postseason trips and made five Super Bowl appearances, winning three. 

Holmgren got his start in the coaching profession in 1971 as an assistant at his alma mater, Lincoln High School in San Francisco, where he also taught history.  He then spent the next nine years (1972-80) as a teacher and assistant coach at the prep level (Sacred Heart HS-San Francisco, 1972-74; Oak Grove HS-San Jose, 1975-80) before breaking into the collegiate ranks, as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at San Francisco State in 1981.  He then moved on to BYU in 1982, and spent the next four years as the Cougars’ quarterbacks coach.

In his coaching career, Holmgren has worked with a pair of Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Joe Montana (49ers, 1986-91) and Steve Young (BYU, 1982-83; 49ers, 1987-91), as well as a future Hall of Famer in Brett Favre (Green Bay, 1992-98).  In addition, two other quarterbacks who went on to earn Pro Bowl status tutored under Holmgren, including Mark Brunell (Green Bay, 1993-94) and Matt Hasselbeck (Green Bay, 1998; Seattle, 2001-08).

In addition to Holmgren’s tutelage of players, nine of his former assistant coaches – either in Green Bay or Seattle – have gone on to become an NFL head coach.

Holmgren’s football acumen is highly regarded in league circles as he served on the NFL’s prestigious Competition Committee from 1996-98 and 2002-2005.  He co-chaired the Committee during his first stint.  He is currently a member of the Competition Committee’s sub-committee.

A San Francisco native, Holmgren played quarterback at Lincoln High School, where he was named the “Prep Athlete of the Year” in 1965.  He went on to play at USC from 1966-69 before being selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth round of the 1970 NFL Draft.  He went to training camp with both the Cardinals and Jets in 1970 and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from USC. 

Mike and his wife, Kathy, have been extremely involved in community endeavors in each of their NFL cities. Among the list of organizations they have supported are Medical Teams International and Salvation Army.  In the short time they have been in Cleveland, they have helped create awareness for local hunger relief needs as well as creating awareness for Haiti Relief efforts, as Mike personally delivered items and donations to reach those in need thousands of miles away. Earlier this year, he was selected to the Board of Directors of the United Way of Greater Cleveland.  As a breast cancer survivor, Kathy Holmgren can be found actively supporting the cause with Mike by her side. Together with his leadership and their combined passion for community service, the Holmgren's commitment to others creates pride amongst us all.

Mike and Kathy have four daughters-twins Calla and Jenny, Emily and Gretchen, four granddaughters, Emma, Emerson, Mary and Isabell and three grandsons, Luke, Michael and Samuel.