Mike McCormack, one of two personalities enshrined by the Panthers and
one of the people most responsible for the team's existence, has passed
McCormack started out as an offensive lineman, and it's not out of
bounds to call him one of the best. A Hall of Famer, McCormack was a
part of numerous NFL championship teams with the Paul Brown era Browns,
that also showcased center Otto Graham and halfback Jim Brown. Past the
Hall of Fame credentials, he was also a six time Pro Bowler, and a
member of the NFL's 75th Anniversary team. Paul Brown was on record as
stating that McCormack was the best lineman he'd ever coached.
An assistant with the Redskins in the late 60s, he was a head coach
'73-75 with the Eagles and '80-81 with the Colts. Moving to management
after, McCormack was an interim head coach with the Seahawks while being
GM. Being let go in 1989, McCormack eventually ended up consulting for
the ownership group led by Jerry Richardson that sought out a franchise.
McCormack helped Richardson achieve a franchise in 1993, almost exactly
twenty years ago. The team's first President, he guided the first few
teams, hired its first GM (Bill Polian) and coach (Dom Capers), and
retired in year 3 (1997). Carolina, not initially considered a favorite
compared to Memphis and Baltimore, essentially snagged a franchise with
massive help from McCormack. Some opinions suggest that it just
wouldn't have happened without him.
Consequently, he's enshrined in the Panthers ring of honor, as well as
a statue outisde the stadium, next to Sam Mills.