George Koonce Joins Marquette Athletics Staff
June 20, 2007
MILWAUKEE - An eight-year starter during the Green Bay Packers return to dominance in the 1990's, George Koonce will join the Marquette University Athletic Department as Senior Associate Athletic Director, interim athletic director Steve Cottingham announced today.
In his new position, Koonce will be primarily involved in fundraising, community relations and student welfare.
"We are extremely delighted to have George Koonce joining our team," said interim athletic director Steve Cottingham. "He is a terrific addition to a very talented group and we look forward to doing great things together."
Koonce joins Marquette from the Packers front office where he served as director of player development. In his role, he assisted players in acclimating to their roles as Green Bay Packers, both on and off the field, especially in terms of their expected contributions to their teammates, the community and team chemistry. The former linebacker also oversaw the Packers' wide range of programs designed to meet the needs of players and their families.
"I feel both humbled and exalted in being afforded the opportunity to serve this great university. Of course with opportunity come responsibility and accountability. I am excited about the prospect, committed to the task and equal to the challenge of making an operation with no apparent deficiency even better," said Koonce.
A fan favorite during his time in Titletown, Koonce had launched his pro career in humble fashion.
One year before Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson brought him to Green Bay, Koonce took part in Falcons training camp with Brett Favre after signing with the Falcons as a nondrafted free agent. Waived by Atlanta in the preseason, he spent the following spring in the World League before following Favre to Green Bay. Given an early opportunity by then-defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes, Koonce went on to start 102 of 112 Packers games during a memorable run that included the team's first Super Bowl championship in 29 years.
An unrestricted free agent, Koonce closed his nine-year NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks, who had hired Thompson as vice president of football operations. The linebacker started every game for Seattle in 2000, and finished with 720 career tackles (447 solo), nine sacks, one forced fumble, five fumble recoveries and five interceptions - two of which he returned for touchdowns - in 128 NFL games (118 starts).
Inducted into the National Junior College Hall of Fame in 2000, Koonce also was enshrined in the hall of fame at East Carolina University (2002), Chowan College (2003) and West Craven, N.C., High School (2005).
Following his retirement, Koonce spent two years in private business before returning to his alma mater, East Carolina, in pursuit of his master's degree in sports management. He also spent most of two academic years (2004-06) as East Carolina's special assistant to the athletic director, a role in which he was in charge of program development.
Born Oct. 15, 1968, in New Bern, N.C., he and his wife, Tunisia, have a son, Paup. He also has a stepdaughter, Jayla, 9. In 1999, he launched the George Koonce Sr. Foundation to provide underprivileged children with educational, athletic, artistic and social opportunities which assist their development. Possessor of a bachelor's degree in liberal arts, he earned his master's in sports management from East Carolina in the fall of 2006. He is currently pursuing his interdisciplinary Ph.D. in sports administration at Marquette.
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