January 21, 2015
By Mike Killeen
Like a lot of departments on campus, my colleagues at Communications and Marketing gather once a week for a meeting. One of the items we talk about are story ideas for the CSB/SJU website.
Last week, I told my co-workers of the upcoming NFC title game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks, and that SJU had connections on both sides of the ball.
Packers’ team physician Dr. Patrick McKenzie and associate team physician Dr. John Gray both completed their undergraduate degrees at SJU. Seattle’s pro personnel director, Trent Kirchner, also graduated from SJU.
Either way, we win with a nice, neat local Super Bowl story, right?
It’s Kirchner and the Seahawks that advanced with a dramatic 28-22 overtime victory over the Packers. (As a Packer fan, I would have chosen a different adjective than “dramatic,” but to the victors go the spoils. Plus, this is a family friendly website.)
The Seahawks advance to play the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Feb. 1 in Phoenix.
For Kirchner, a 2000 SJU graduate, it will be his third Super Bowl, and second consecutive with the Seahawks. Seattle defeated Denver 43-8 in last year’s Super Bowl. He also was a pro scout for the Carolina Panthers’ 2004 Super Bowl team that lost to New England, 32-29.
The win over the Packers capped a whirlwind period for Kirchner, who was a candidate for the vacant New York Jets’ general manager position.
“… And the Jets won’t be hiring ace Seattle director of pro personnel Trent Kirchner as GM,” the Seattle Times newspaper reported in a blog Jan. 5. “Bad news for Kirchner, good news for Seattle, keeping a winning personnel team intact.”
Along with general manager John Schneider, who is a University of St. Thomas graduate, Kirchner has overseen an almost complete overhaul of the Seahawks’ roster. Kirchner joined the Seahawks in February 2010.
“We only had four guys remaining on our roster from when Coach (Pete) Carroll and John Schneider got in here (in January 2010),” Kirchner told me a year ago before the Super Bowl.
Kirchner knew he wanted to get into professional sports while attending SJU. He initially was interested in becoming an agent representing players.
“But I got to know a couple of agents, and I learned more about it. I didn’t want to be the babysitter for (an athlete). And, you need to have big finances to get into it, and I didn’t have either one of those things, so I started looking at the evaluation process more. That was very intriguing to me,” Kirchner said.
Things have worked out pretty well for Kirchner — unlike that story on the Packers.