Update: NU Athletic Director leaves for Packers

David Morrison

Former Northwestern Athletic Director Mark Murphy was named president and CEO of the Green Bay Packers on Monday after a unanimous vote by the team’s board of directors at Lambeau Field.

“The Green Bay Packers are very pleased to name Mark Murphy as out president and CEO,” Packers’ Chairman of the Board Mark Harlan said in a statement issued by the team. “He’ll be an outstanding leader for our franchise and a great addition to our community. We’re delighted to have Mark join us.”

Harlan will assume Murphy’s duties through the end of the year, with Murphy taking over Jan. 1, according to the press release.

NU president Henry Bienen said the search for Murphy’s successor will begin immediately.

A search committee named Murphy the top candidate for the Packers’ post Nov. 27, and Murphy resigned from his job at NU while the terms of his contract with the Packers were finalized.

“I am honored to have been selected and very appreciative of this tremendous opportunity,” Murphy said in the statement. “These are successful times for the Packers. On the field, they’re performing well, and off the field, they’re in great shape, too. I look forward to being a part of that continued success.”

Murphy, a former safety for the Washington Redskins, was named NU’s athletic director in 2003, after filling the same position at Colgate for 12 years. During Murphy’s time at NU, the women’s lacrosse team won three national championships, the softball team made it to the Women’s College World Series twice and the wrestling, men’s swimming and men’s soccer teams all had record-breaking seasons.

He also oversaw the renovations of Lakeside Field and Sharon J. Drysdale Field, and NU athletes led the Big Ten in the latest graduation success rate figures.

“Mark’s vision was a perfect fit for Northwestern, emphasizing the importance of both academics and athletics,” said NU lacrosse coach Kelly Amonte Hiller in a statement issued by the NU athletic department. “He will most definitely be missed by everyone in the department.”

From a school that has struggled to find its footing as a formidable Division-I football program, Murphy joins one of the most storied organizations in the NFL.

The Packers have won 12 league championships, including three Super Bowls, and have a 10-2 record this season.

“I very much appreciate the opportunity I was given when Northwestern selected me as its athletic director,” Murphy said. “I’ll miss the many friends I’ve made here and I’ll continue to be a Wildcat supporter.”

“We’re sorry to see Mark go and we appreciate the tremendous leadership that he has provided here,” Bienen said in a statement. “At the same time, we understand what a wonderful opportunity this is for him, so we wish him well.”

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