• Devin Abell

Five sports general managers and their background

Former Baltimore Ravens kicker Matt Stover. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Following an in-class Skype call in SPM 101, I was given the task of researching five general mangers and their backgrounds by former NFL kicker Matt Stover who is currently the founder of the Players Philanthropy Fund.

This objective given by Stover is for us students to realize it takes time and effort to reach the goals we want- especially in the sports industry.

Photo courtesy of www.chicagobears.com

Ryan Pace

Education: Eastern Illinois University ('96-'99)

Job Experience:

- New Orleans Saints (2001), Operations assistant

- New Orleans Saints (2002–2003), Scouting assistant

- New Orleans Saints (2004–2006), Professional personnel scout

- New Orleans Saints (2007–2012), Director of professional scouting

- New Orleans Saints (2013–2014), Director of player personnel

Current Job:

Was hired in 2015 by the Chicago Bears for General Manager at the age of 37, making him the youngest general manager in the NFL. He was given a three-year extension in January 2018 and is with the team through 2020.

In all, it took 15 years and five jobs for Pace to reach GM. This is rather quick for someone in the industry as it usually takes longer to reach these goals.

Pace's connections combined with his work ethic and results have allowed him to take the most of his opportunities and allowed him to reach this position.

Photo courtesy of clutchpoints.com

Matt Hurney

Education: Catholic University

Job Experience:

- Washington Redskins (1988–1989), Public relations

- San Diego Chargers (1990–1997), GM Assistant

- Carolina Panthers (1998), Director of Football Administration

- Carolina Panthers (1999–2001), Director of Player Operations

- Carolina Panthers (2002–2012), General manager

- Carolina Panthers (2017), Interim General manager

Current Job:

Hurney was rehired as the GM for the Carolina Panthers in 2018 after being the interim for the 2017 season. He previous served as GM under former owner Jerry Richardson and was apart of their super bowl run in 2003.

It took Hurney about 14 year to get his first stint at GM- which like Pace- is also pretty early in his career.

Fortunately for Hurney he had connections with former Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke who personally asked him to join the organization.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Brian Cashman

Education: The Catholic University of America

Job Experience:

- New York Yankees (1986), Minor League Scout/Intern

- New York Yankees (1986-'90), Baseball Operations Assistant

- New York Yankees (1991), Assistant Farm Director/ Major League Administrator

-New York Yankees (1992-'98), Assistant General Manager

Current Job:

Cashman was hired as the Senior VP/GM for New York Yankees in 1998 after predecessor Bob Watson resigned.

Cashman has been the GM for over two decades for the organization. Under his management, he has achieved six AL pennants and four World Series titles - while accomplishing a 3-peat in '98,'99, and '00 seasons.

Cashman was able to get his early start when he met George Steinbrenner while managing at Pompano Park in Pompano Beach, Florida. Steinbrenner later gave him an internship with the New York Yankees.

It took Cashman just about 12 years to earn the GM spot, which is even faster than both Pace and Hurney.

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Gar Foreman

Education: Utah State

Job Experience:

(All Coaching)

Utah State (1981–1982), (GA)

College of the Desert (1982–1983), (assistant)

College of the Desert (1983–1985)

New Mexico State (1985–1987), (assistant)

Cal Poly Pomona (1987–1988), (assistant)

New Mexico State (1988–1994), (assistant)

Iowa State (1994–1998), (assistant)

Chicago Bulls (1998-2004), Scout

Chicago Bulls (2004-2009), Director of Player Personnel

Current Job:

Gar Foreman- aka Garpax- was hired as the Bulls GM in 2009. He has been at the helm for over a decade and has drafted beloved Bulls players like former ROY and MVP D-Rose, Taj Gibson, Ben Gordon, etc...

It took Garpax over 25 years to finally reach the general manager position after nearly 10 jobs. I think Garpax is a more realistic path to reaching a high position like GM.

Personally, I don't believe Garpax has the intangibles to be a GM- maybe that's why most Bulls fans want him fired...

Photo courtesy: Katlyn Gambill/Minnesota Wild

Bill Guerin

Education: Boston College & Wilbraham & Monson Academy

Job Experience:

Professional Hockey Player (1985-2010)

Pittsburg Penguins (2011-2014), Player Development Coach

Pittsburg Penguins (2014-2019), Assistant GM

Current Job:

In 2019, Guerin was hired as GM for the Minnesota Wild organization.

Prior to his managerial career, Guerin had a long professional career that lasted about 20 years, and eventually earned him a spot in the United States Hockey HOF.

Unlike other GM I have mentioned, Guerin has had a lot less experience in the front office. He does however, make up for it with years of experience in the league as players. Which could give him an insight on the player/management relations.

Guerin over 25 years to reach GM, which I believe to be a more realistic timeframe for accomplishing such a feat.


Upon finishing my research I made a few key observations.

First, I realize that forming connections with people in high places can greatly increase your opportunity to get ahead and reach your goals faster. These connections give advantages over other candidates for the same positions.

Second, with continuous hard work and proving yourself to those connections, it will earn their trust and help your name/brand be recognize in the industry a trustworthy and well sought after canidate.

In conclusion, this assignment from Mr.Stover was very eye opening in how everyones career path is different and you just have to follow your way.

8 views0 comments