Mike McCormack, the first president of the Carolina Panthers and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died early Friday morning at the age of 83 in Palm Desert, Calif., the Panthers announced Friday.
McCormack worked hand-in-hand in the late-80s and early-90s with Panthers owner/founder Jerry Richardson to bring an NFL franchise to Charlotte.
"It is safe to say that we would probably not have a team in the Carolinas if it were not for Mike McCormack," Richardson said in a statement released by the team. "He had the contacts in the National Football League and was universally respected by everyone associated with professional football. He was a wonderful man and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Ann, and the entire McCormack family."
He served as the team's first president from 1995-1996 before retiring, and in 1997 he became the first person to be inducted in the Panthers' Ring of Honor.
Born in Chicago in 1930, McCormack won two NFL Championships as a Cleveland Brown in 1954 and 1955 as an offensive lineman. He retired from playing following the 1962 season and became an assistant coach with the Redskins in 1965.
He served as head coach of the Eagles from 1973-1975, assistant with the Bengals from 1976-1979, head coach of the Baltimore Colts from 1980-1981 and head coach of the Seahawks for 1982.
McCormack was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984.
Published in Charlotte Observer on Nov. 16, 2013