George Koonce, UWM Athletic Director and former Green Bay Packer defensive standout who starred with the team from 1992 to 1999, will be honored at the “MARCH OF CHAMPIONS,” Sunday, March 28, 2010 at the Mother Kathryn Daniels Conference Center (MKDCC). Koonce, who gained renown as an integral member of the Pack Super Bowl championship team of 1996, will be recognized during halftime of the Boys Championship game scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.
Koonce was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Atlanta Falcons out of East Carolina University, but was waived during the preseason. He was then signed by the Green Bay Packers before the 1992 season. He was an eight-year starter as the Packers returned to dominance, starting 102 of 112 games. He played all three linebacker positions with the Packers. He was signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an unrestricted free agent before the 2000 season, and started all 16 games. After the 2000 season he retired with 720 tackles, 9 sacks, and 5 interceptions in 128 games (118 starts).
“I am humbled at the way the Milwaukee community has welcomed me with open arms,” said Mr. Koonce. “I am honored to be given this recognition at the MARCH OF CHAMPIONS. One of my top priorities at UWM is to engage the youth of our community and events like this are a model and provide positive opportunities to the young people in our city and I am grateful to be a part of it.”
Koonce was inducted into the National Junior College Hall of Fame in 2000 and also the hall of fame at East Carolina University. In 1999, he founded the George Koonce, Sr. Foundation to provide underprivileged children with educational, athletic, artistic and social opportunities which assist their development.
He spent two years as the East Carolina University Assistant Athletic Director for Development, assisting with fundraising and marketing of the department. He also earned his Master’s Degree in Sport Management in 2006 from ECU. In 2006, he served in the as the Director of Player Development for the Green Bay Packers.
Later, Koonce served as the Senior Associate Director of Athletics at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He was responsible for fundraising, major gifts, community relations and student welfare. He joined the Golden Eagles in 2007 and also pursued his Ph.D. in Sports Administration while at Marquette.
He was introduced as the new Director of Athletics for the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee on March 17, 2009, and began his duties on April 1st.
“What a great find for Milwaukee and the University,” said LaNelle Ramey, MARCH OF CHAMPIONS Tournament Director. “George’s commitment to the ideals which drive empowerment and inclusion set new standards for our community. His selection as the 2010 MARCH OF CHAMPIONS honoree was a slam dunk. No one else even came close!”
The “MARCH OF CHAMPIONS,” the first-ever Milwaukee Area and Wisconsin State Middle School Basketball and Academic Championships, is a collaborative partnership between the Mother Kathryn Daniels Conference Center (MKDCC), the Milwaukee Recreation Division of MPS (Milwaukee Public Schools) and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Milwaukee.
Opening round action in the “MARCH OF CHAMPIONS” is set for Friday through Sunday, March 19-21 at five area Boys & Girls Club locations including the MKDCC. Sweet 16 final round competition will feature the Boy’s semi-final games on Championship Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 2 and 3:30 p.m., the Girls Championship game at 5 p.m. and the Boys Championship game at 6:30 p.m. Further information and the tournament’s full slate of games, times and updated bracket information are available on the Milwaukee Recreation website at www.milwaukeerecreation.net.
The March of Champions is also a community service project supported by the Milwaukee Bucks/Herb Kohl Charities, the Evinrude Foundation, The Wisconsin Scholastic Chess Federation, Time Warner Cable, the Fellowship Open, American Transmission Company and North Milwaukee State Bank.
The Mother Kathryn Daniels Conference Center is located at 3500 West Mother Daniels Way on the corner of 35th and Hampton Avenue in Milwaukee. The MKDCC also houses the Daniels-Mardak Boys and Girls Club. For more information about this event, please contact LaNelle Ramey at (414) 578-1228 ext. 5151. Fax is (414) 578-1240.