ASHWAUBENON – Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy choked back tears as he talked about a seeing his name on a street sign.
"This is such a unique, special and gracious gift and I'm humbled," McCarthy said before his voice trailed off. He paused to wipe a tear from his eye.
"... to hear people saying such nice things about me. Quite frankly I'm a little uncomfortable with this."
McCarthy, 50, was presented with an official street sign Wednesday that read, "Mike McCarthy Way." The night before, the Ashwaubenon Village Board unanimously approved to rename Potts Avenue in honor of the coach.
With Ray Nitschke Field as the backdrop, McCarthy stood at a podium in the parking lot of Green Bay Distillery, 835 Potts Ave., and thanked his family for their sacrifices when it came to his career in football.
"It's a reflection of our football team's success, in particular Super Bowl (XLV)," he said about the new street name.
In 2006, McCarthy was hired as the team's 14th head coach. In 2010, he joined past coaches Vince Lombardi and Mike Holmgren as the only coaches in team history to lead the Packers to a Super Bowl title. Lombardi Avenue and Holmgren Way also are streets near Lambeau Field.
McCarthy, who drives down Holmgren Way every day on his way to work at Lambeau Field, said it's a unique opportunity to be memorialized while he's still coaching.
"That's the part that makes it a little uncomfortable," he said. "These are the types of things that go on after your career is completed."
Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt said it's more than just numbers on a scoreboard that influenced the street name change.
"We don't name streets after statistics, we name them after people of character," Schmitt said. "That's what Mike McCarthy is. He's a man of character."
Ashwaubenon Village President Mike Aubinger said McCarthy donates much of his time to helping the community.
"His parents, who raised him in Pittsburgh, must have laid down some deep roots of community because Coach McCarthy has become a part of this community," Aubinger said. "He has done numerous things all over the community to help out."
In 2009, the coach and his wife, Jessica, established the annual Mike and Jessica McCarthy Golf Invitational to benefit the American Family Children's Hospital.
"You can give people awards for accomplishing touchdowns and you can give people awards for having the most yards, but the ones that really count are giving people awards for having heart," Aubinger said.
The new street name, which will not take effect immediately, could leave Potts Avenue businesses with hefty expenses for reprinting labels, sales slips and mailing supplies, Aubinger said. The village of Ashwaubenon plans to spread the name transition over a period of six months to help offset the cost.
"If we phase it in there won't be any cost," Aubinger said. "If (the Packers) decide to give us some money to help defray some of these costs then it will move quicker."
McCarthy took home the large street sign adorned with his name.
"All streets that lead to Lambeau Field eventually lead to championships," the coach said.
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