John Thompson, the first General Manager in Seahawks history, died Tuesday morning in Las Vegas, the team announced Wednesday. Thompson was 95.
“We remember and honor John Thompson following his passing this week,” the Seahawks wrote in a statement. “Thompson served as the team’s first General Manager from 1975-82. He oversaw the hiring of Jack Patera, grew the season-ticket base to 59,000 for its inaugural season in 1976, and aided in the selection of the team’s nickname and colors. Thompson’s background in sports as sports information director at the University of Washington, being the first PR director for the expansion Minnesota Vikings and the first full-time executive director for the NFL Management Council made him the perfect candidate to begin an NFL franchise. The Seahawks extend our condolences to his wife, Mimi, and three children, Rick, Mike and Kathi.”
The Seahawks hired Thompson on March 6, 1975, and he served as the G.M. until October 1982.
Thompson previously worked with the Vikings as the team’s publicity director and assistant General Manager from 1960-70. He briefly was the assistant to the president of the National Football Conference following the AFL-NFL merger before becoming the first full-time executive director of the NFL’s Management Council, the collective bargaining agent of the league’s clubs, in 1971.