The Green Bay Packers have named Brian Gutekunst general manager and Russ Ball executive vice president/director of football operations. The promotions were announced Monday by President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Murphy.
“We could not be more excited to elevate Brian to the position of general manager,” said Murphy. “He has earned this opportunity throughout his 19 years with the Packers, proving to not only be a skilled talent evaluator, but a trusted and collaborative leader. His time under the direction of former Packers general managers Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson will undoubtedly serve him well as we work toward our next Super Bowl championship. I am confident that he is the man that will help get us there.”
“First, I’d like to thank my mentor, Ted Thompson, for his friendship, and I am happy that we will continue to have the chance to work together,” Gutekunst said. “I want to thank Ron Wolf for giving me my first opportunity with the Packers, and of course Mark Murphy for the faith and trust he has placed in me moving forward. And finally, I must thank my wife, Jen, and our children for their constant sacrifice and unwavering support despite all of the time I have spent on the road and away from home. I look forward to getting to work with the rest of our talented personnel department and using every avenue available to build the Packers into a championship team again.”
Gutekunst (GOO-tuh-kunst), the 10th person to hold the title of general manager for the Packers, will have complete control over all roster decisions, including the NFL draft and free agency, while leading Green Bay’s scouting department. Ball will continue to manage the Packers’ salary cap and serve as the chief contract negotiator while continuing to oversee several areas in football operations.
“Since joining the Packers in 2008, Russ has proven to be invaluable,” said Murphy. “His salary-cap management and negotiating abilities are well known, but he has also provided tremendous leadership throughout football operations and served as a valuable liaison between the football and business sides of the organization. His diverse skills will remain important to our success moving forward, and I look forward to working with him even more closely in his new role.”
Additionally, Murphy announced a change in the Packers’ organizational structure as Gutekunst, Ball and Head Coach Mike McCarthy will all report directly to Murphy.
“The process of identifying our next general manager gave us the opportunity to analyze our entire football operation,” said Murphy. “While we have enjoyed a lot of success, we need to improve. With that in mind, the head coach, general manager and executive vice president/director of football operations will report to me moving forward. While I understand this is a departure from the Packers’ current structure, it will serve to increase the breadth and frequency of communication and collaboration. Ultimately, it will make the Packers better.”
Gutekunst, who is entering his 20th season with the organization, has spent the past two seasons as the director of player personnel after serving as the director of college scouting for four years. He previously worked 11 seasons as a college scout in the Southeast region. Prior to that, Gutekunst served as a scout for the East Coast region from 1999-2000. Before joining the Packers full-time, he was a scouting assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1998, a scouting intern for Green Bay in the summer of 1997 and assisted the New Orleans Saints’ coaching staff in training camp in 1995.
Gutekunst played football for two years at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and served as an assistant coach during his final two years at the school (1995-96) after a shoulder injury cut short his playing career. In 1995, he coached the linebackers as the Eagles finished 14-0 and won the Division III national championship.
Ball enters his 30th season in the NFL and 11th season in Green Bay. Since joining the Packers in 2008, he has worked in the role of the vice president of football administration/player finance. Prior to coming to Green Bay, Ball spent six seasons (2002-07) with the New Orleans Saints, serving as senior football administrator for four seasons and as vice president of football administration for the final two years. In 2001, he was the director of football administration for the Washington Redskins. From 1999-2000, Ball served as senior football administrator for the Minnesota Vikings. He began working in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he spent 10 seasons (1989-98), the final two in football operations as administrative assistant to then-head coach Marty Schottenheimer. He began his career with the Chiefs as an assistant strength and conditioning coach.
A 1981 graduate of Central Missouri State, Ball was a four-year letterman at center for the Mules. He served as head strength and conditioning coach at the University of Missouri from 1982-89 and earned his master’s degree from Missouri in 1990.
Related: An introduction to Brian Gutekunst