Leonard Frank "Fritz" Shurmur (July 15, 1932 – August 30, 1999) was an American football coach. He coached at the University of Wyoming from 1962 to 1974, the last four as head coach, compiling a 15–29 record. Shurmur was subsequently an assistant coach in the National Football League (NFL) with the Detroit Lions (1975–1977), New England Patriots (1978–1981), Los Angeles Rams (1982–1990), Phoenix Cardinals (1991–1993), and Green Bay Packers (1994–1998). He was the winning defensive coordinator in Super Bowl XXXI, following the 1996 season, and was the uncle of current New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur.
|Born||July 15, 1932|
|Died||August 30, 1999 (aged 67)|
|Alma mater||Albion College, 1954|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1975–1976||Detroit Lions (DL)|
|1977||Detroit Lions (DC/DL)|
|1978–1979||New England Patriots (DL)|
|1980–1981||New England Patriots (DC/DL)|
|1982–1990||Los Angeles Rams (DC)|
|1991–1993||Phoenix Cardinals (DC)|
|1994–1998||Green Bay Packers (DC)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
MIAA Most Valuable Player (1953)
Nicknamed "Fritz" as a baby after his grandfather's cocker spaniel, Shurmur grew up in Wyandotte, Michigan, south of Detroit, along with his parents and his brother, Joseph. His nephew Pat Shurmur is the current head coach of the New York Giants; he was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 2011 to 2012 and has served in other coaching positions with other NFL teams, including one game as interim head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Shurmur's father was a factory worker for 49 years in the suburbs of Detroit. Shurmur's parents twice refinanced the family home so Fritz and his brother could have opportunities to attend Albion College.
Shurmur started playing football at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte. After graduation in 1950, he played college football at Albion College in Albion, one hundred miles (160 km) west of Detroit. Shurmur played center, 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.
Shurmur became a graduate assistant at age 22 in 1954, under Albion head coach Morley Fraser. After receiving his master's degree in education administration in 1956, he stayed at Albion as a defensive coordinator. In 1962, Shurmur moved to the University of Wyoming as a defensive coach under first-year head coach Lloyd Eaton, who was promoted following the departure of Bob Devaney for Nebraska. The Cowboys won three consecutive WAC titles (1966–1968), which included a Sugar Bowl appearance after the 1967 season. Following a 1–9 season in 1970, Eaton resigned and Shurmur was promoted to head coach; he had a 15–29 (.341) record over four seasons (1971–1974).
From 1975 to 1999, Shurmur was a defensive coach in the National Football League with six teams. He coached for the Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams, Phoenix Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, and Seattle Seahawks. For nineteen of those years he was a defensive coordinator.
Throughout his 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.
Shurmur became defensive coordinator for Green Bay in 1994 under head coach Mike Holmgren; in his third season with the team in 1996, the Packers won Super Bowl XXXI over the New England Patriots in January 1997. When Holmgren accepted the dual roles of head coach and general manager with Seattle in 1999, Shurmer went with him as defensive coordinator. That May, he was diagnosed with esophageal and liver cancer; he died at his Wisconsin home in late August, before coaching a game with the Seahawks.
|Wyoming Cowboys (Western Athletic Conference) (1971–1974)|
The 1971 Wyoming Cowboys football team represented the University of Wyoming in the 1971 college football season. Led by first-year head coach Fritz Shurmur, they were members of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and played their home games on campus at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.
The Cowboys had a record of 5–6, and were 3–4 in the WAC. Shurmur had been the defensive line coach at Wyoming for nine years under head coach Lloyd Eaton; Eaton resigned in December 1970 and was reassigned to assistant athletic director, and Shurmur was promoted to head coach.1972 Wyoming Cowboys football team
The 1972 Wyoming Cowboys football team represented the University of Wyoming in the 1972 NCAA University Division football season. The Cowboys were led by second-year head coach Fritz Shurmur and played their home games at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyoming. They finished the season with a 4–7 record overall and a 3–4 record in the Western Athletic Conference to finish 5th in the conference.1973 Wyoming Cowboys football team
The 1973 Wyoming Cowboys football team represented the University of Wyoming in the 1973 NCAA University Division football season. The Cowboys were led by third-year head coach Fritz Shurmur and played their home games at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyoming. They finished the season with a 4–7 record overall and a 3–4 record in the Western Athletic Conference to finish tied for 4th in the conference.1974 Wyoming Cowboys football team
The 1974 Wyoming Cowboys football team represented the University of Wyoming in the 1974 NCAA Division I football season. The Cowboys were led by fourth-year head coach Fritz Shurmur and played their home games at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyoming. They finished the season with a 2–9 record overall and a 1–6 record in the Western Athletic Conference to finish 8th in the conference.1977 Detroit Lions season
The 1977 Detroit Lions season was their 48th in the National Football League (NFL). The team matched their previous season's output of 6–8. The team missed the playoffs for the seventh straight season. The Lions struggled offensively, scoring a mere 183 points while finishing in third place with a 6–8 record for the second straight season.
The 1977 coaching staff included 25-year-old assistant special teams and offensive assistant coach Bill Belichick. Belichick would later win two Super Bowls as defensive coordinator with the New York Giants following the 1986 and 1990 seasons, and five more as head coach of the New England Patriots following the 2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, and 2016 seasons.
This is the last season the Lions would beat the Philadelphia Eagles at home until 2015.1990 Los Angeles Rams season
The 1990 Los Angeles Rams season was the team's 53rd year with the National Football League and the 45th season in Los Angeles. On November 11, 1990, Marcus Dupree made his NFL debut against the New York Giants. The Rams temporarily playing in the Los Angeles Coliseum looked to improve on their 11-5 season from 1989 and make the playoffs for the 3rd straight season and be possible contenders for the Super Bowl. However, the Rams would struggle all season, starting 1-4 before winning 2 of their next 3 games before losing their next 2 games as they dipped to a 3-7 record. After a win over Cleveland, the Rams upset the 49ers 28-17 in San Francisco to improve to 5-7. However, this would be perhaps the only good highlight of the season for the Rams, as after the win, they ended the season on a 4 game losing streak as the Rams finished with a disappointing 5-11 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1987.1991 Phoenix Cardinals season
The 1991 Phoenix Cardinals season was the 72nd season the team was in the National Football League (NFL). The team failed to improve on their previous output of 5–11, winning only four games. After beginning the season 2–0, the Cardinals suffered a tough schedule and lost their last eight matches to finish 4–12. This was the ninth consecutive season the Cardinals failed to qualify to the playoffs.
The Cardinals’ 196 points scored is the lowest total in franchise history for a 16-game season.1992 Phoenix Cardinals season
The 1992 Phoenix Cardinals season was the 73rd season the team was in the National Football League (NFL). The team matched their previous output of 4–12. The Cardinals failed to qualify to the playoffs for the tenth straight season.
Two of the Cardinals’ victories came at the expense of playoff-bound teams. Phoenix defeated the defending Super Bowl champion Redskins in week five, and in week nine, the Cards toppled the 49ers, who finished the regular season with the NFL’s best record of 14–2.1993 Phoenix Cardinals season
The 1993 Arizona Cardinals season was the franchise's 95th season, 74th season in the National Football League the 6th in Arizona, and their last as the Phoenix Cardinals (becoming the Arizona Cardinals the following season). The team improved upon their previous output of 4–12, winning seven games. Despite the improvement, the Cardinals failed to qualify to the playoffs for the eleventh straight season. It was not enough for head coach Joe Bugel to keep his job; he was fired at the conclusion of the season.1994 Green Bay Packers season
The 1994 Green Bay Packers season was the team's 76th season overall and their 74th in the National Football League. The Packers posted a 9–7 record for their third straight winning season. 1994 marked the first of 8 seasons in which Packers' quarterback Brett Favre would throw more than 30 touchdown passes. It also marked the second season in which he started all 16 games for the Packers, starting a record-breaking starting streak which would continue throughout his career. This was the final season that the Packers played at Milwaukee County Stadium; they played home games exclusively at Lambeau beginning in 1995. Three Packers had the distinction of being named to the NFL's All-Time 75th Anniversary Team: Reggie White, Don Hutson, and Ray Nitschke. After defeating the Detroit Lions 16–12 in the NFC Wild Card Game, the season ended in a 35–9 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC Divisional Playoff Game.Despite another stellar season, Brett Favre, for the first time in his career, was not eligible for the Pro Bowl.Fred Akers
Fred Akers (born March 17, 1938) is a former American football player and coach. He served as head football coach at the University of Wyoming (1975–1976), the University of Texas at Austin (1977–1986), and Purdue University (1987–1990), compiling a career college football record of 108–75–3.Harold I. Dean
Harold Isaac Dean (May 8, 1884 – April 5, 1949) was an American football and college basketball coach. He served as the head football coach at the University of Wyoming from 1909 to 1911, compiling a record of 11–12–1. Dean was he also the head basketball coach at Wyoming from 1910 to 1912, tallying a mark of. He graduate from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1907.Jimmy Carr (American football)
James Henry Carr (March 25, 1933 – August 13, 2012) was an American football player who played nine seasons for the Chicago Cardinals, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL). Carr also played one season in the Canadian Football League with the Montreal Alouettes in 1958. He was the starting left corner with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1960 when they won the World Championship beating the Green Bay Packers. He played college football at Morris Harvey (now the University of Charleston) in Charleston, West Virginia. While there he played in three bowl games and was one of three NAIA Hall of Fame inductees in 1962. He also played high school football and baseball at East Bank High School in East Bank, West Virginia.
After retiring as a player, he served 24 seasons as an NFL assistant coach for the Minnesota Vikings, the Chicago Bears, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Detroit Lions, the Buffalo Bills, the San Francisco 49ers, the New England Patriots, and the Atlanta Falcons. He also coached two years in the United States Football League and three years in NFL Europe. In 1985, he coached in the Super Bowl on the defensive staff of the New England Patriots. Carr was known as a defensive innovator implementing nickel packages, seven defensive backs, eleven man fronts, zone blitz schemes and special zones well before they came into common practice. Coaches who learned under his tutelage include Fritz Shurmur, Jerry Glanville, Floyd Reese, and Bill Belichick.
Jimmy Carr died on August 12, 2012 at the age of 79.Justus F. Soule
Justus Freeland Soule (April 8, 1862 – October 6, 1939) was an American football coach, professor of Latin and Greek, and university administrator. He was on the faculty of the University of Wyoming from the school's founding in 1887 until shortly before his death in 1939. He served as the school's head football coach from 1894 to 1897 and in 1899, compiling an 8–1–1 record.Leon Exelby
Leon C. "Ex" Exelby was an American football player and coach of football and basketball. He played college football at Michigan Agricultural College—now known as Michigan State University—from 1907 to 1910. He was captain of the 1910 Michigan Agricultural team. Playing as a fullback, he was selected by Walter Eckersall to the 1910 All-Western college football team. Exelby served as the head football coach at the University of Wyoming for one season in 1912, compiling a record of 2–7. He was also Wyoming's head basketball coach that academic year, 1912–13, tallying a mark of 2–5.Okie Blanchard
Claire H. "Okie" Blanchard (? – 1989), sometimes spelled "Oakie", was an American football player, coach of football and basketball, and college athletics administrator.
His collegiate coaching career lasted one season, in 1940 with the University of Wyoming's Cowboys. His record was 1–7–1, earning the victory (7–3 over New Mexico) in his initial game, and the tie (scoreless against Colorado State) in his second.
He was more successful as a high school coach, serving in that capacity in Cheyenne, Wyoming for many years. The football stadium at Cheyenne East High School there (which was also used by Cheyenne Central High School until 2000) is named for Blanchard. Blanchard also coached high school basketball in Cheyenne until 1958.Blanchard was a graduate of the University of Wyoming, and in 1968 was one of the recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award granted by the Alumni Association of that institution. In 1984, Blanchard was elected to the Wyoming Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Blanchard died in 1989.Pat Shurmur
Patrick Carl Shurmur (born April 14, 1965), is an American football coach who is the head coach of the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL). He was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 2011 to 2012, and has also been the offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams, Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings.Paul Roach (American football)
Paul L. Roach (born October 24, 1927) is a former American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at the University of Wyoming from 1987 to 1990. While there, he compiled a 35–15 record, had a .700 winning percentage, highest in school history, and two seasons of ten or more wins (1987–1988). During that time he also served as the school's athletic director, and won two Western Athletic Conference championships. In both those years, he won WAC Coach of the Year honors, and was a two-time finalist for National Coach of the Year.
Roach also worked as an assistant coach in the National Football League (NFL) with the Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, and Oakland Raiders. He graduated from Black Hills Teacher's College (now Black Hills State University) in 1952.Pete Kaligis
Pete Kaligis (born January 6, 1971) is an American football coach, former player, and former track and field athlete. He was an All-American shot puter, three-time Rose Bowl Game participant, and starter for the 1991 national champions at the University of Washington. Kaligis has been an assistant coach for various college football programs since 1994.
# denotes interim head coach