ASHWAUBENON, Wis. -- There’s Mike Holmgren Way, Brett Favre Pass and Reggie White Way. Now, Ron Wolf, the man who brought all three of them to Titletown -- as the architect of the Green Bay Packers’ 1990s renaissance -- has a street named after him, too.
The village of Ashwaubenon, a Green Bay suburb just a Favre deep ball away from Lambeau Field -- street address: 1265 Lombardi Avenue -- honored the retired Packers GM with Ron Wolf Way on Tuesday afternoon. The street was created during the team’s new Titletown development project.
“When a person has the opportunity to come here and work for the Green Bay Packers, it’s the ultimate place in professional football. Without question, it’s the crown jewel of the NFL,” Wolf said. “For me to be able to be a small part of the history of this thing, it’s a remarkable feeling.”
Wolf, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015, was hired by the Packers in November 1991 to awaken the woebegone franchise, which had appeared in the playoffs just twice since the end of the Vince Lombardi era.
In short order, he hired Holmgren, the hot coaching candidate after serving as Bill Walsh’s offensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers, as his head coach; traded the Packers’ 1992 first-round draft pick to the Atlanta Falcons for their third-string quarterback, Favre; and signed White, already one of the league’s most feared pass-rushers with the Philadelphia Eagles, to an unprecedented -- and perception changing -- four-year, $17 million free-agent deal in 1993.
— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) September 19, 2017
“I once asked Mike, ‘With all the options you had, what made you pick Green Bay?’ The five coaches hired before Mike had a lower winning percentage than their predecessor. We were like a stairway going down,” retired Packers president/CEO Bob Harlan said. “And he said, ‘I knew Ron would get me the players we needed.’”
In Wolf’s nine full seasons as the Packers’ general manager, the Packers went 101-57 (including 9-5 in the postseason). The 1996 team won Super Bowl XXXI, while the 1997 team reached Super Bowl XXXII, losing to the Denver Broncos.
He retired following the 2001 NFL draft, but the tradition he started in Green Bay has carried on while his protégés have found success themselves. Five of his lieutenants later became NFL GMs: Packers GM Ted Thompson, Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider, ex-Kansas City Chiefs GM John Dorsey and ex-Washington Redskins GM Scot McCloughan.
Surrounded by wife, Edie, son Eliot, daughter-in-law Regan, granddaughter Daisy and a host of Packers staff including Thompson, Wolf called it an honor that “reflects upon the job all of you did while I was working with you with the Packers.”
“I had a lot of help here, now,” Wolf said. “If you figure, you get a coach like Mike Holmgren, a once-in-a-lifetime type player like Brett Favre and the people who worked with me here.
“So I had a lot of help. I’m very appreciative of the job they did in enabling me to have a street named after me, among other things.”
Editor’s note: Jason Wilde covers the Green Bay Packers for ESPN Wisconsin and hosts Wilde & Tausch with former Packers offensive lineman Mark Tauscher weekdays on ESPN Milwaukee and ESPN Madison.