Rich McKay life and biography

Rich McKay picture, image, poster

Rich McKay biography

Date of birth : 1959-03-16
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Eugene, Oregon
Nationality : American
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2010-11-15
Credited as : Football manager NFL, president of the Atlanta Falcons,

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Rich McKay begins his seventh season as team president handling all business operations of the club including Finance, Marketing, Ticket Sales, Football Communications, Retail, Human Resources, and Community Relations.

Additionally, Rich remains heavily involved with Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff in running the club's salary cap and contract negotiations and continues to work with Falcons Owner & CEO Arthur M. Blank on the pursuit of a new stadium as the club nears the expiration of its lease term at the Georgia Dome.

McKay's contributions not only to the Falcons but to the entire NFL as well are visible on a daily basis with his participation on a wide range of League committees that assist in maintaining the NFL's current level of success and stature. Accordingly, McKay will continue as the Falcons' liaison with the NFL offi ce in New York City regarding all football and business-related matters. It was McKay's vision and leadership that helped successfully navigated the smooth transition before the start of the 2008 season when the Falcons hired Head Coach Mike Smith and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff. The Falcons went on to post an 11-5 record and garnered their first postseason berth since 2004.

Rich has overseen the completion of the Georgia Dome renovations, which, in partnership with the Georgia World Congress Center was a three-year, $53 million project. The renovations, which catered specifi cally to Falcons fans included: a new exterior with Falcons colors and themes, a renovation of the mezzanine, lower and upper level concourses, a renovation of the gate entrance areas and the installation of red and black colored seats throughout the building. The improvements were capped off with the installation of two new state-of-the art, highdefinition video score boards which are double the size of the old score boards.

"Our goal from the very outset of this project was to ensure that our stadium kept up with NFL standards and for our fans to continue to have a fi rst class experience," McKay said. "We now play in a building that has the look and feel of the home of the Falcons." Prior to embarking on his new role as team President, McKay served in a dual role as Falcons President & General Manager from 2004-07. One of the many proud moments during his successful tenure in Atlanta includes helping the Falcons lay claim to an NFC South Division title in 2004, only the club's third Division crown in franchise history, and a NFC Championship Game appearance(2004) for only the second time in team history.

He recorded his 100th career regular season victory as an NFL General Manager in 2005 when the Falcons defeated the Detroit Lions 27–7 on Thanksgiving Day before a nationally televised audience at Ford Field. The 2004 Falcons rolled to a 4–0 start en route to an 11-5 record and earned the conference's second seed in the playoffs, a fi rst-round bye, and a nationally televised home game against the St. Louis Rams and their highoctane offense.

The Falcons used the fourth-highest team rushing total in NFL postseason history and a staunch defensive effort to defeat the Rams 47–17 to advance to only their second NFC Championship Game in franchise history. Atlanta rushed for a postseason franchise-record 327 yards and sacked Rams QB Marc Bulger four times en route to pitching a second-half defensive shutout. Before joining the Falcons organization in 2004, McKay recorded a nine-year run as chief architect of football operations for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He constructed Buccaneer teams that won better than 60 percent of their games during his tenure and was the chief football executive of the franchise altering 1995 draft which ESPN has named one of the Top 10 draft classes in NFL history. Headlining that class was DT Warren Sapp, now an in-studio analyst for NFL Network and LB Derrick Brooks. Sapp and Brooks combined to make 18 Pro Bowl appearances during their tenures with Tampa Bay. Both players were named to the NFL's top 75 Draft Picks of all time by NFL Network earlier this year.

To further place into perspective the success McKay has enjoyed during what has been a sparkling NFL career, one only needs to review the 10-year record the Buccaneers had before he took over as General Manager. From 1985 to 1994, Tampa Bay compiled a record of 43–116, a paltry .270 winning percentage, including 10 consecutive double-digit losing seasons. "Rich balances caring about his team's fortunes with caring about the league's fortunes as well as any front offi ce man in the NFL has done since George Young lorded over the New York Giants," said national NFL writer Peter King, who writes for Sports Illustrated and is a studio analyst for NBC's Sunday Night in America NFL show. "He's intensely competitive, but he also sees the big picture of what's good for the NFL as a sport and as a business."

The apex of McKay's distinguished NFL career to date took place in sunny San Diego, California on January 26, 2003 when he completed the overhaul of the Buccaneers, long considered one of the worst franchises in professional sports. Tampa Bay's 48–21 victory over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII vaulted the Buccaneers from the basement of professional sports to the top of the NFL universe thanks to McKay's handiwork.

In his 13 seasons as an NFL General Manager, McKay directed six teams that reached the NFC playoffs, three that reached the NFC Championship Game and one team that won a Super Bowl title. McKay also worked with three different coaches who guided their respective teams to the NFC Championship Game (Tony Dungy 1999; Jon Gruden 2002; and Jim Mora 2004). His overall record was 112–96 with a playoff mark of 6–5. McKay's formula for success has been a championship elixir that has produced an impeccable reputation and a total of 56 players who have gone on to play in the Pro Bowl. Between the draft and free agency, McKay constructed a roster that featured 12 Pro Bowl performers in 2002 with the Bucs. Additionally, McKay drafted five players – CB Ronde Barber, FB Mike Alstott, LB Derrick Brooks, DT Warren Sapp, and S John Lynch who each played in at least five Pro Bowls during their NFL careers.

Tampa Bay's 41 Pro Bowl selections between 1997 through 2002 were the most in the NFL. To put it into perspective, the Buccaneers had only 19 Pro Bowl selections in the fi rst 21 years of their history leading up to 1997. While many of the players McKay drafted have developed into NFL stars on the fi eld, several have also been Pro Bowl performers from a charitable standpoint, as well. Current Atlanta Falcons Limited Partner Warrick Dunn, whom McKay drafted in 1997 during his tenure with the Buccaneers, was the recipient of the 2004 Walter Payton/NFL Man of the Year award which is presented annually to the NFL's most philanthropic player as was Derrick Brooks, who was a co-recipient of the award in 2000 as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

McKay was the 2005 recipient of the Jack Horrigan Award, which is presented annually by the Pro Football Writers of America to the club or league office executive who is the most helpful and cooperative with the local and national news media that cover the NFL. McKay and his family have substantially deep roots in collegiate and professional football, dating back more than 30 years to when McKay's late father, John, led the University of Southern California Trojans to four national championships and later was named the first Head Coach of the Buccaneers in 1975. Coach McKay will be the second inducte into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor on December 5, 2010.

McKay has served on numerous League committees during his NFL career. Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue named McKay cochairman of the NFL's Competition Committee in 1998, replacing the late New York Giants General Manager George Young and he has held that position since. McKay will continue to serve in the same capacity in 2009 along with Tennessee Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher. Since 1994, McKay has served on this committee of NFL coaches and executives who study the game and recommend rules modifi cations to ensure player safety while promoting competitiveness in the league. In December of 2002, Tagliabue named McKay to a working group of fi ve senior club executives as part of the newly-created NFL owners' committee on diversity in the workplace. For the past fi ve years, McKay has also served on the NFL Management Council working group of league executives that helps advise on collective bargaining issues.

McKay, who also taught a course in sports entertainment law at Stetson University's College of Law, earned his Bachelor's degree in 1981 from Princeton University. He graduated from Stetson's College of Law in 1984 and clerked for two years for Tampa U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges. Born March 16, 1959 in Eugene, Oregon, McKay grew up in Los Angeles and Tampa, graduating from Tampa's Jesuit High School. An avid long distance runner, he has participated in and finished two New York City marathons and one recent Atlanta marathon. McKay and his wife, Terrin, have two sons, Hunter and John.

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