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Pro Football Hall of Fame to honor former Packers DC Fritz Shurmur with Award of Excellence

Shurmur was the Packers’ defensive coordinator from 1994 to 1998.

Super Bowl XXXI Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

According to a release from, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will give 20 assistant coaches, athletic trainers, equipment managers and public relations personnel an “Award of Excellence” as part of a new initiative with the NFL Alumni Association. The inaugural class will be honored on Thursday and Friday in Canton, Ohio, the site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

One of the five assistant coaches who will be honored is former Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Fritz Shurmur, the only member of the 20 who spent time with the Packers organization. Shurmur coached the Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams and Phoenix Cardinals as either a defensive line coach or defensive coordinator from 1977 to 1993 before taking on the job as Green Bay’s defensive coordinator in 1994 under head coach Mike Holmgren. Shurmur filled the void of the outgoing Ray Rhodes, Holmgren’s first defensive coordinator hire, who had just left to become the San Francisco 49ers’ defensive play-caller and would eventually become the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and Packers.

Under the guidance of Shurmur, defensive end Reggie White (five appearances), safety LeRoy Butler (two appearances) and Bryce Paup (one appearance) were named to the Pro Bowl. The team also reached the NFC Championship three times in five seasons and the Super Bowl twice (with the Packers winning Super Bowl XXXI against the New England Patriots) when Shurmur called plays on defense.

When Holmgren left Green Bay to take the dual head coach-general manager role with the Seattle Seahawks in 1999, he hired Shurmur to be his defensive coordinator. Unfortunately, it was soon discovered that Shurmur had esophageal and liver cancer and he would pass away before the 1999 NFL season kicked off.

Shurmur’s aggressive 3-4 style of play would influence the likes of Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, two of the greatest coaches in NFL history, after Shumur hired Parcells to be his linebackers coach with the Patriots in 1980. After one year as Shurmur’s assistant, Parcells would become the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants and in two years would take over as the team’s head coach.

Shurmur’s nephew, Pat Shurmur, has been an assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos. From 2011-2012 he was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns and from 2018-2019 was the head coach of the Giants.

Full list of Award of Excellence winners

Assistant coaches

  • Alex Gibbs
  • Jimmy Raye
  • Terry Robiskie
  • Fritz Shurmur
  • Ernie Zampese

Athletic trainers

  • George Anderson
  • Otho Davis
  • John Omohundro
  • Jerry Rhea
  • Fred Zamberletti

Equipment managers

  • Sid Brooks
  • Ed Carroll
  • Tony Parisi
  • Dan “Chief” Simmons
  • Whitey Zimmerman

Public relations personnel

  • Joe Browne
  • Charlie Dayton
  • Joe Gordon
  • Jim Saccomano
  • Gary Wright