Mike Holmgren

Mike Holmgren bigraphy, stories - American football coach

Mike Holmgren : biography

June 15, 1948 –

Michael George Holmgren (born June 15, 1948) is an American football coach and executive, most recently serving as president of the Cleveland Browns. Holmgren began his NFL career as a quarterbacks coach and later as an offensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers, in which he would earn two Super Bowl rings. Then from 1992-1998, he served as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, followed by head coaching the Seattle Seahawks from 1999 to 2008. Prior to his career in the National Football League, Holmgren coached football at the high school and collegiate levels.

Holmgren is noted for his role in molding quarterbacks such as Steve Young, Brett Favre and Matt Hasselbeck during his tenures in San Francisco, Green Bay and Seattle, respectively. Under Holmgren’s leadership and play calling the Green Bay Packers were consistent winners. He became known as one of the best coaches in the NFL, leading the Packers to their twelfth league championship in Super Bowl XXXI. Under Holmgren the Seahawks also became a frequent playoff team, including five division titles and the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance in 2005. As president of the Cleveland Browns, Holmgren failed to improve the team, which was 5-11 the season before his arrival and went 14-34 in the seasons since. Despite Holmgren’s reputation as a quarterback guru, the Browns fielded three different opening day starters in his three years with the team.


Playing career

Holmgren started out as a tight end before becoming a standout quarterback at San Francisco’s Abraham Lincoln High School where he was named "Prep Athlete of the Year" in 1965 and graduated in 1966. He continued his playing career as a quarterback at the University of Southern California, from 1966-69. As a sophomore he was on USC’s national championship team of 1967, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1970. He played behind starter Steve Sogge in 1967–68, and a knee injury put him behind sophomore Jimmy Jones in 1969. Although a back-up, Holmgren was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth round (201st overall) of the 1970 NFL Draft and went to camp with both the Cardinals and the New York Jets that year.

Coaching career

High school

Holmgren’s coaching career began in 1971 at his alma mater Lincoln High School in San Francisco, where he also taught history. One year later, he moved to San Francisco’s Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory as a teacher and assistant coach. He also coached at Oak Grove High School in San Jose, California, from 1975 to 1980 and won one Central Coast Section championship.


In 1981 Holmgren became the Offensive Coordinator/Quarterback Coach for the San Francisco State Gators, working for the legendary Vic Rowen.

From 1982 to 1985, Holmgren was the quarterbacks coach at Brigham Young University under LaVell Edwards. During his four-year tenure at BYU, Holmgren not only helped coach the team’s potent offense to a national championship in 1984, but in that period mentored and developed two of BYU’s future NFL quarterbacks, Steve Young and Robbie Bosco, and one future NFL head coach, Andy Reid.

Bosco would make it to Green Bay several years before Holmgren, but Holmgren’s eventual appointment as Packers head coach would bring him back into contact with Andy Reid and Steve Young.

Under Holmgren, Bosco led the Cougars to a national championship in 1984, finished third in Heisman Trophy balloting and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1985. Bosco’s NFL career was cut short by an arm injury, and he returned to BYU as a quarterbacks coach.

In addition to mentoring quarterbacks at BYU, Holmgren also worked with Reid, at the time a graduate assistant. Reid went on to become an offensive line coach at Holmgren’s previous school, San Francisco State, and in 1992 rejoined Holmgren in Green Bay as offensive assistant coach. In 1998 Reid became quarterbacks coach and assistant coach, then in 1999 was named head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.