GREEN BAY—Mike McCarthy has driven on Lombardi Avenue and Holmgren Way countless times going to and from Lambeau Field over the past eight-plus years.
Now one of the roads he frequents will have his own name.
Potts Avenue was officially renamed Mike McCarthy Way on Wednesday. The east-west street that runs along the south edge of Nitschke Field, which will host the Packers’ first training camp practice on Saturday morning, is now the third Green Bay-area street to be named after a Packers head coach.
Those three are the three coaches who have led the Packers to Super Bowl titles, and McCarthy told a modest gathering at the Green Bay Distillery across from Nitschke Field that the gesture by the city of Green Bay and village of Ashwaubenon to group him with the other two in this way “humbled and honored” him.
“When I think of Coach Lombardi, not only what he’s done as a coach, I think about what he’s done for society – an example of leadership that still beams brightly in today’s world,” said McCarthy, who was joined on Wednesday by his oldest daughter, Alex. “Coach Holmgren, I have the utmost respect for him and what he and Ron Wolf were able to get going here. Ted Thompson and I feel like we’re carrying that tradition on.”
At the same time, McCarthy admitted the recognition made him “uncomfortable,” which showed in how he got choked up at times trying to get through his public remarks. He confessed it also felt strange in part because he’s not finished coaching in Green Bay, and in part because he’s always considered success such a collective effort.
“This is a team game. I’ve always expressed to the teams I’ve coached that this is a players’ game,” he said. “It’s a reflection of the football teams I’ve been blessed to coach. It’s a reflection of all the hard work of our players, coaches, football operations, all the way through, because it takes everybody.”
The public officials involved in the street re-naming emphasized that the honor wasn’t bestowed solely for McCarthy’s on-field achievements, though it’s worth noting that McCarthy passed Holmgren last season on the franchise’s all-time wins list and now stands just 10 more victories from matching Lombardi’s total (regular season and postseason combined).
“We don’t name streets after statistics,” Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt said. “We name them after people of great character, and that’s what Mike McCarthy is.”
Both Schmitt and Village of Ashwaubenon President Mike Aubinger highlighted a number of community projects McCarthy and his family have been involved in over the years.
“Coach McCarthy has become a part of this community. He’s done numerous things all over to help out,” Aubinger said. “You can give people awards for the most touchdowns and the most yards, but the ones that really count are the ones for the heart, and Coach McCarthy has that. We appreciate having him part of our community.”
Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy added that other NFL teams don’t often have players and coaches honored like this, which highlights yet another unique element to the Green Bay franchise and its hometown.
“Naming streets after impactful players and coaches goes back generations, and it’s one of the special bonds between the team and community,” Murphy said. “It speaks volumes about the success Mike and his program have enjoyed over time, and it speaks to the promise for the future under Mike’s leadership.”
That future starts on Saturday morning.
“I’m ready to coach football,” McCarthy said. “It’ll be a great training camp. This is a very unique football team. I’m excited to coach them. I’m excited to see us come together in training camp. Everybody’s looking forward to it.”