What Do We Know About Brian Gutekunst?
Though Russ Ball may be the front runner and Eliot Wolf has the name recognition, Brian Gutekunst should not be discounted as a contender for the Packers’ general manager job. A well-regarded personnel man, Gutekunst has been on the rise in Green Bay for nearly 20 years. Here’s a little bit more about him.
What do we know about Brian Gutekunst?
Brian Gutekunst is the son of John Gutekunst, who was the head coach for the Minnesota Golden Gophers from 1986-1991. A teenager at the time, Brian absorbed everything he could in Minneapolis and spent his time playing football, thinking about football, and dreaming of coaching football.
After his playing career was cut short at UW-La Crosse in 1994, Gutekunst turned his attention to the front office. While pursuing a degree in sports management, he beat over 300 applicants for a position as an intern in the Packers front office as a 23-year-old in 1997.
There, he worked with the Packers player personnel staff -- director of player personnel Ted Thompson, director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie, and director of college scouting John Dorsey.
Gutekunst worked his way up the Packers’ scouting ranks, and was promoted in 2012 to director of college scouting.
Gutekunst’s star begins to rise
After his 2012 promotion, Gutekunst took on a much more visible role in the Packers’ organization, although people around the NFL had already taken notice.
"He's well-respected around the league," a personnel director told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Bob McGinn. "Professional. Attentive. He could be a director, but it's hard to move up in Green Bay. He's got a positive, engaging personality and works well in group settings."
Not long after, former NFL player and scout Marc Lillibridge named him one of ten personnel executives he thought would run a team someday, calling Gutekunst “one of the best college scouts in the NFL.”
Just a couple years later, other NFL teams came calling, but the Packers initially were reluctant to allow Gutekunst to interview.
In January 2015, the Philadelphia Eagles requested permission from the Packers to interview Gutekunst for a “major front office position” after head coach Chip Kelly was also named head of football operations. Gutekunst was denied permission to interview.
One year later in January 2016, the Tennessee Titans hired Jon Robinson as general manager and requested permission from the Packers to interview Gutekunst for their director of player personnel. Gutekunst was denied permission to interview.
Four months ago in January 2017, Gutekunst interviewed for the open general manager job in San Francisco. The 49ers ultimately hired former safety and broadcaster John Lynch, but Gutekunst was praised for his football savvy.
The 2017-2018 season will mark his 19th season with the Packers.
Will he stay in Green Bay?
Both Wolf and Gutekunst received new contracts a few months ago after interviewing for the 49ers position, and have been promised to be a big part of the Packers front office moving forward.
Gutekunst seemed like a good bet to leave the Packers at this point last year, especially after his interview with the 49ers drew rave reviews. But he pulled out of the interview process, presumably because he preferred his situation in Green Bay at the time.
However, there can only be one general manager. If it is Wolf who is the “general manager in waiting,” as many have speculated, then Gutekunst may be beginning to explore outside opportunities to make his own mark on a team as a general manager.