Grading the Bears’ hiring of Kevin Warren as team president and CEO
The Bears hit a home run, won the lottery, got a hole in one, whatever metaphor you want to use. They got that right. Warren is one of the most qualified individuals for a position like this and immediately transforms the Bears front office. For years, they were known as the “mom and pop store” run by the McCaskey’s with their close friend Ted serving as president. Now, they are paying top dollar to bring in a seasoned executive with years of experience in multiple areas of the soccer world. In other words, they’re moving from their small-town bungalow to a sleek city building, and they’re spending the money to do it.
Warren has had success basically everywhere he has gone. From helping the Rams to their first Super Bowl title in St. With the Big Ten, Warren navigated uncharted waters with the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020 football season and, even with a few missteps along the way, came out on top with a lucrative television rights deal as well as expansion with USC and UCLA set to join the conference. It wasn’t perfect, but he persevered.
Now he’s tasked with turning the Bears into a relevant football team. The biggest of those tasks will be the new stadium project in Arlington Heights, which now looks more like a lock than ever. But he will have more on his plate than just a new stadium. General manager Ryan Poles will now report to Warren, reversing the structure that was implemented just last year where he reported to George McCaskey. It’s another established check, only this time the person in charge has other experiences outside of an organization to draw on, unlike Phillips.
Last but certainly not least, the Bears broke barriers again by hiring Warren, a person of color, for the job. Last year, they hired their first black general manager in Polak, and this year they hired their first black president in Warren. For a team that has had a strange past, whether it was George Halas’ role in keeping African-Americans out of the sport in the 1930s and 1940s, or claims that the Bears wouldn’t embrace African-American quarterbacks before the selection of Justin Fields, the hiring Warren’s is a big step forward.
It’s good to see them embrace a diverse front office and it sends a message to the league that the Bears are working to be at the forefront of change in this regard. With Warren now on board, this will be the case for many other initiatives. It’s an exciting time to be a Bears fan.