The gentleman giving glory to God after the AFC Championship team that saw his team victorious over the Tennessee Titans was Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt. The 54-year old was nearly speechless at the idea that the team owned by his father was finally going to make it back to a Super Bowl after a 50 year drought. In fact, it was the Chiefs, who represented the American Football League (AFL), playing against the Green Bay Packers, who represented the National Football League (NFL), in the first ever AFL-NFL World Championship, later designated Super Bowl I. Four years later the Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings to claim their first and only Super Bowl… and have not been back since. Under the leadership of Hunt, football in Kansas City is doing quite well. Here are 10 things you might not know about the guy hoping to bring home the first championship in 50-years to KC.
1. Grandfather Struck Oil
Clark Hunt’s grandfather was oil tycoon H.L. Hunt. Grandpapa, who was known for his math genius, managed to turn his last $100 to $100,000 through gambling (poker) in 1912. He used his winnings to purchase oil properties. Forty years later it was estimated he had a net worth of close to $700 million, which made him one of the richest men in the world in the 1950’s. Hunt had 15 children by 3 different wives including his son Lamar, who was born in 1936.
2. The Name on the Trophy
The trophy that Clark Hunt was holding while he praised God in his post game speech is named the Lamar Hunt Trophy and it given to the AFC Champion. Lamar Hunt is Clark Hunt’s father and also one of the biggest figures in the history of American sports. Lamar Hunt is the principal founder of the AFL (American Football League) and MLS (Major League Soccer). He is the founder and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs as well as the Kansas City Wizards (MLS). At the time of his death in 2006 at the age of 74, he owned the Chiefs, Columbus Crew and FC Dallas. After his death, ownership of the Chiefs was divided among his children including his son Clark.
3. Early Days in MLS
Hunt was accomplished soccer player in his early days. He attended Southern Methodist University where he was captain of a nationally ranked soccer team and a two-time Academic All-American. It only made sense that after college Clark began his career helping his dad run the Kansas City Wizards of the MLS. He was an influential figure in the emergence of Major League Soccer and was with the Wizards until they were sold in 2006. Today, he still sits on the board of FC Dallas, a family owned club.
4. The Transition to the NFL
In 2005, Clark Hunt became chairman of the Kansas City Chiefs. A year later he lost his father and became a part owner of the club. Hunt, despite having several siblings involved, is the face of the ownership group, Hunt Sports Group, and is most active in the day-to-day activities.
5. Tenure as CEO
Since becoming chairman of the Chiefs in 2005, Clark Hunt has had limited success. They’ve won five AFC West Division titles, but this year is the only time they’ve made it past the AFC Championship game. in 15 years he’s overseen five coaching changes including Dick Vermeil (retired), the hiring and subsequent remove of Herm Edwards, Romeo Crennel and Todd Haley, then finally the hiring of Andy Reid. As mentioned above, this will be the first Super Bowl appearance for the Chiefs in 50 years.
6. Separation of Church and Stadium
Clark Hunt is an avid Christian, which one could have guessed by reading the opening paragraph. During his speech, he gave thanks go God and if you wish to do so yourself while you’re at Arrowhead Stadium you can stop by the Chapel there from 9:50-10:45 on Sundays prior to games. In fact, there are Chaplains that are part of the team.
7. Miss Kansas
Hunt’s wife, Tavia Shackles, is a former Miss Teen Missouri and former Miss Kansas. She was second runner-up in the Miss USA pageant in 1993. They were married that same year and have three children Gracie, Knobel and Ava. The family is members of the Church of Latter-day Saints.
8. 54th Super Bowl
This year will mark the 54th Super Bowl attended by Norma Hunt, Clark Hunt’s mom. She is the only woman to have attended every single Super Bowl. This year is extra special as it’s the first time in 50-years the team her husband founded will be back in the big game. She actually has a hand in why we call the big game the Super Bowl. As the story tells, Hunt remembered being in a toy store when her children were young and seeing a toy called “Super Balls”. She thought the kids would love them and decided to bring three home to Clark, Sharron and Lamar Jr. In a meeting with the NFL, Lamar Hunt, who hated the name (AFL-NFL World Championship), remembered the toy name and proposed the idea “Super Bowl”. I think we all know how that worked out!
9. Oversight of the Coaches
One of the interesting changes that Hunt made to the Chiefs during his tenure was that he changed the structure of hiring a General Manager that then hired a coach. In 2016, the GM-less Chiefs hired coaching commodity Andy Reid, who had an impressive resume in Philadephia, but was on his way out. As one of the most coveted coaches on the market, Hunt moved swiftly and locked down his man. After Reid, he then hired GM John Dorsey, but still had each man report to him separately. Interestingly enough, it allowed for the extending of Reid and letting Dorsey walk in 2017, which appears like the right move.
10. Mahomes is All In
Clark Hunt has repeatedly said that his identity is his faith. Patrick Mahomes is 100% on-board with that and has said that his mother is very happy he is with a team whose owner is of that mindset. Mahomes himself has publicly praised God (as most athletes do), but it extends beyond that as he is very pleased with the way Hunt has instilled faith as part of the Chiefs organization.