Mike Holmgren was a star athlete at San Francisco’s Abraham Lincoln High School. He was an all-city quarterback and president of his graduating class. In 1965, Lincoln High School named him Prep Athlete of the Year.
He continued his playing career as a quarterback at the University of Southern California from 1966-1969. As a sophomore he was on USC’s national championship team of 1967. He played behind starter Steve Sogge in 1967 and 1968. Although a back-up, Holmgren was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth round (201st overall) of the 1970 NFL Draft. He went to training camp with both the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Jets.
Holmgren’s coaching career began at his alma mater, Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, in 1971. He was also a history teacher. One year later he moved to San Francisco’s Sacred Heart Catholic Preparatory as a teacher and assistant coach. He later coached and taught at Oak Grove High School in San Jose, California from 1975-1980.
In 1981 Holmgren became the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco State Gators under head coach Vic Rowen.
From 1982 to 1985, Holmgren was the quarterbacks coach at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah under LaVell Edwards. During his four-year tenure at BYU, Holmgren not only helped coach the team’s offense to a national championship in 1984, but in that period mentored and developed two of BYU’s future NFL quarterbacks, Steve Young and Robbie Bosco.
Holmgren began his NFL coaching career as an assistant coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 1986-1991. He coached the 49er’s quarterbacks from 1986-1988 under head coach Bill Walsh, working with Steve Young and Joe Montana. Holmgren became the team’s offensive coordinator under head coach George Seifert in 1989. During his tenure with San Francisco, the 49ers posted a 71-23-1 regular season record to reach the postseason each year except 1991. San Francisco won Super Bowl XXIII over the Cincinnati Bengals 20-16 and Super Bowl XXIV over the Denver Broncos 55-10. As offensive coordinator in 1989, Holmgren’s 49er offense ranked number one in the NFL.
Holmgren was the head coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1992 to 1998, which became one of the most successful coaching stints in NFL history. As head coach of the Packers, Holmgren posted a 75-37-0 regular season record, a 9-5 postseason record, and two Super Bowl appearances, including a 35-21 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. Holmgren’s Packers posted an NFL best 48-16 record, finished first in the NFC Central Division three times, second once, and set a 7-3 mark in the playoffs between 1995 and 1998. By taking the Packers to six consecutive postseasons, Holmgren set a franchise record with a team that had had just two winning seasons in the 19 years before he was hired. Holmgren is well known for molding quarterback Brett Favre. Many of Holmgren’s coaches, including Andy Reid, Steve Mariucci, Dick Jauron, Ray Rhodes, Marty Mornhinweg and John Gruden, would go on to head coaching careers in the NFL.
Holmgren accepted a position as Head Coach of the Seattle Seahawks after the 1998 season. Holmgren took the Seahawks to their first postseason since 1988 during his first season with the club in 1999. Holmgren posted a 72-56 regular season record and a 3-4 postseason record, including an AFC West Division title in 1999, one NFC Wildcard berth in 2003, four consecutive NFC West Division Titles from 2004-2007, and the Seahawks first ever Super Bowl appearance in 2005. With the 2005 NFC Championship win, Holmgren became the fifth member of an elite coaching fraternity that has taken two different NFL franchises to the Super Bowl. On December 19, 2008, Holmgren received the Steve Largent award, becoming the first coach in Seahawks history to attain the accolade.
Holmgren served as the president of the Cleveland Browns from 2010-2012.
Mike Holmgren and his wife Kathy met at the age of 12 and were married on June 15, 1971. They have four daughters – twins Calla and Jenny (1973), Emily (1977) and Gretchen (1981). They have 9 grandchildren – Emma (16), Emerson (14), Mary (12), Isabelle (11), Luke (9), Michael (8), Samuel (6), Theodore (3), and Elloise (3).
The Holmgren family is very involved in the Evangelical Covenant Church and the denomination’s North Park University in Chicago, Illinois. In 2004, they led the fundraising drive to build the university’s Holmgren Athletic Complex.
Mike and Kathy are also very involved in Medical Teams International and Holmgren has served as an analyst for Seattle Sports station KJR 950 AM.