Dick Mansperger, the Seahawks’ first director of player personnel (1975-84), died May 12 following a long battle with cancer. He was 80. Mansperger, who worked for the Dallas Cowboys prior to joining Seattle’s expansion franchise, exerted a profound influence on the team’s early NFL drafts and rosters.
Most notably, through his association with Milton College football coach Rudi Gaddini, Mansperger recommended the Seahawks sign free agent quarterback Dave Krieg. Krieg ultimately replaced six-year starter Jim Zorn, and went on to quarterback the Seahawks for 12 years, finishing with 26,132 yards and 195 touchdown passes.
“If it wasn’t for that,” Krieg said in 1985 in reference to the Mansperger-Gaddini relationship, “I’d probably be working for the Weyerhaeuser paper mill back home (in Wisconsin). Or Roto-Rooter maybe.”
Mansperger was one of the first people hired by the Seahawks when the franchise was organized prior to their inaugural season of 1976.
Mansperger broke into the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys in 1965, and left after one year to coach at the University of Iowa. He returned to the Cowboys, becoming the top aide to Gil Brandt. When he left the Seahawks in 1984, he succeeded Brandt as the team’s player personnel director. Mansperger remained with the Cowboys through the 1992 draft.
During his career with Seattle, Mansperger came under criticism for several controversial draft decisions that were actually made by head coach Jack Patera.