The Seahawks have lost a member of their original football family.
Dick Mansperger, the team’s first director of player personnel, died on May 12 after a long battle with cancer. He was 80.
Mansperger was one of the first employees hired by the expansion franchise that began playing in 1976. He joined the Seahawks after serving as director of player personnel for the Cowboys since 1972, and had been a scout in Dallas for six seasons prior to that. Mansperger left the Seahawks after the 1983 season and returned to the Cowboys.
One of Mansperger’s best moves started with a favor to an old friend. It was through that relationship with former Milton College coach Rudi Gaddini that Dave Krieg got a tryout with the team in 1980. When backup QB Steve Myer sustained a career-ending injury during the then-annual intra-squad scrimmage at training camp, Sam Adkins became the backup to Jim Zorn and the rookie from Milton made the team.
“If it wasn’t for that, I’d probably be working for the Weyerhaeuser paper mill back home (in Wisconsin). Or Roto-Rooter maybe,” Krieg said in 1985.
By then, Krieg was the starter. He would play through the 1991 season with the Seahawks and leave after 12 seasons as the franchise leader in completions (2,096) and passing yards (26,132), marks that were surpassed by Matt Hasselbeck (2,559 and 29,434); as well as touchdown passes (195) and victories (70), which remain the club records.
After leaving the Seahawks, Krieg played seven more seasons with the Chiefs (1992-93), Lions (1994), Cardinals (1995), Bears (1996) and Titans (1997-98).
None of it would have happened without an assistant from Mansperger.
He is survived by two brothers, James and Larry; and a sister, Linda Shoppe. Mansperger will be cremated and there will be a Celebration of Life in Phoenix, but the date has yet to be determined.