Aaron Nagler speaks with Michael Cohen about some of the challenges facing the Packers new general manager and what he should prioritize.
GREEN BAY - Here are 10 things to know about Brian Gutekunst, a longtime scout who has been chosen to replace Ted Thompson as the Packers' next general manager.
1. Football family: His father, John Gutekunst, was head coach at the University of Minnesota from 1985-91, compiling a 29-37-2 record. Brian Gutekunst, 44, was born July 19, 1973 in Raleigh, N.C., where his father was starting his coaching career as an assistant at Duke.
2. Family man: Gutekunst and his wife, Jen, have three daughters (Marley, 12; Joie, 11; and Kacey, 6) and one son (Michael, 8).
3. Wisconsin roots: Gutekunst played two seasons of college football at Wisconsin-La Crosse. A shoulder injury ended his career, but he remained involved in the game. Gutekunst served as an assistant coach with the team in 1995-96; he was a linebackers coach during the team’s 1995 Division III national-championship season.
4. On the coaching track: Gutekunst’s first NFL experience came in the summer of 1995. During training camp, he assisted the New Orleans Saints’ coaching staff with the offensive line. It deviated from his father, who spent his career coaching defense.
5. Switch to scouting side: In 1998, Gutekunst made a decision that would define the rest of his career. His first full-time employment in scouting came that year as a scouting assistant with the Kansas City Chiefs. Gutekunst’s time with the Chiefs overlapped with the end of Packers vice president of football administration and player finance Russ Ball’s time in Kansas City. Ball was an administrative assistant to then-Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer. It was also the first time Gutekunst worked in the same organization as Packers coach Mike McCarthy, the Chiefs' quarterbacks coach in 1998.
6. Joining the Packers: Gutekunst first worked with the Packers' scouting department as an intern in 1997. After one year with the Chiefs, Gutekunst returned to the Packers when general manager Ron Wolf hired him as a college scout Dec. 30, 1998. Gutekunst primarily scouted the East Coast in his first two years before transitioning to the Southeast, a plum job because of the fertile Southeastern Conference.
7. Impressive pedigree: As a Wolf hire, Gutekunst hails from a long line that has produced several successful NFL talent evaluators. The Wolf tree includes five men who worked under him in Green Bay and went on to become general managers: Thompson (assistant director of pro personnel 1992, director of pro personnel 1993-97, director of player personnel 1997-99), Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider (intern 1992, pro personnel assistant 1993-96), Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey (scout 1991-96, director of college scouting 1997-98), Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie (pro personnel assistant 1994-96, director of pro personnel 1997-Wolf’s retirement in 2001) and Scot McCloughan (regional scout 1994-99). Gutekunst started late in Wolf’s tenure, and most of his time with the Packers has come working under Thompson, but he would be the sixth from the Wolf line to become a general manager.
8. The corporate ladder: After 13 years as a college scout, Gutekunst was promoted to director of college scouting in 2012. Three years later, on March 21, 2016, he was promoted to director of player personnel. In that role, Gutekunst was one of Thompson’s top lieutenants. He has been involved in most player acquisition decisions.
9. Not his first interview: When Gutekunst interviewed with Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy for the GM vacancy, he had plenty of experience with the process. In the past year, Gutekunst interviewed for GM jobs with the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers. He was thought to be on the short list of candidates in San Francisco before removing himself from consideration, a sign that he was not going to get the job. The 49ers ultimately hired John Lynch, while the Bills hired Brandon Beane.
10. In demand: If the Packers hadn't hired him, Gutekunst still could have gained a GM job this offseason. While there are fewer openings than a year ago, the Houston Texans were set to interview him for their opening Sunday.
Aaron Nagler took Packers fans' questions in a Facebook Live chat on Friday afternoon.