The Atlanta Falcons announced the hire of the team’s first African American general manager.
Terry Fontenot, the former vice president of professional personnel and assistant general manager for the New Orleans Saints will take over football operations at Flowery Branch for the upcoming season. He replaces Thomas Dimitroff, who was fired in October after the team lost the first five games of the 2020 season.
Before taking on the role of VP last season, Fontenot spent 18 years with the Saints, where he was hired as a marketing intern, according to a statement from the Falcons.
He was invited to join the team’s college recruiting staff as an intern. From there he worked his way up through the ranks, serving as player personnel assistant, pro scout and pro scouting director.
“When we started this process, we were focused on finding someone that not only has a track record of identifying key building blocks that result in successful teams, but also someone who focuses on cohesive relationships within the building.
We feel very strongly that we’ve found that individual in Terry Fontenot,” said Arthur Blank, the Falcons owner and chairman, in a statement.
“In his past positions, he has shown the ability to make strong decisions and judgments that result in championship-caliber teams, while also understanding a variety of viewpoints and respecting a collaborative process throughout.
Landing a leader of Terry’s stature, I believe our organization, players, fans and community will have confidence in our approach throughout this process as I am certain Terry will represent them and the expectations they have to a high level.”
He reportedly was one of “two or three” finalists for the role, from a selection of candidates that included Falcons Director of College Recruiting Anthony Robinson, former Houston Texans Executive Vice President of Football Operations Rick Smith, Brad Holmes and Morocco Brown, both college scouting directors for the Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis Colts, respectively.
Teams interviewing prospective leaders — for either coaching or executive roles — were not able to hire them until that individual’s season ended. The Saints lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-20 on Sunday evening.
Fontenot interviewed with the Falcons remotely on Jan. 6.