Fritz Shurmur
Fritz Shurmur as Green Bay Packers assistant
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Title Assistant/Head Coach
Biographical details
Born July 15, 1932
Place of birth Wyandotte, Michigan
Died August 30, 1999(1999-08-30) (aged 67)
Place of death Suamico, Wisconsin, U.S
Playing career
1951-1953 Albion College
Position(s) Center
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Albion College (DC/AC)
Wyoming (AC)
Detroit Lions (DL)
Detroit Lions (DC/DL)
New England Patriots (DL)
New England Patriots (DC/DL)
Los Angeles Rams (DC/DL)
Phoenix Cardinals (DC)
Green Bay Packers (DC)
Head coaching record
Overall 15–29-0
College Football Data Warehouse
Career player statistics (if any)'

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 is the uncle of current Cleveland Browns head coach and former St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

Early life[edit | edit source]

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.

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 | edit source]

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 | edit source]

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 | edit source]

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 | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Litsky, Frank. "Fritz Shurmur, 67, a Coach Of Innovative NFL Defenses", New York Times, 1999-08-31. Retrieved on 2008-05-07. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Green Bay's defensive genius. South Coast Daily. Retrieved on 2008-05-07.
  3. Fritz Shurmur, Former Packers Defensive Coordinator, Dies at 67. Green Bay Packers. Retrieved on 2008-05-07. [dead link]
  4. Fritz Shurmur Education Institute. Albion College. Retrieved on 2008-05-07.
  5. Wyoming Coaching Record. College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved on 2009-07-08.

External links[edit | edit source]

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