Gene Smith became the highest-ranking personnel executive in Jaguars history on Monday, when it was announced that team owner Wayne Weaver had promoted Smith to the position of general manager. It is one of four changes made within the Jaguars player personnel department.
"The changes we are making will bring greater clarity in responsibilities, with Gene Smith having final say in personnel decisions and Jack Del Rio having final say in all coaching decisions. Gene has been given greater and greater responsibility with this organization, and I am confident that in this new role he will be successful in directing our football operation," Weaver said in a statement released by the team on Monday.
"Gene and Jack have worked closely in the past and will continue to do so to make this a strong, competitive team year in and year out," Weaver added. "Our goal is to win a championship and the moves we make are with that clear objective in mind. I'm excited for our fans because I believe we are ascending as 2009 unfolds."
Smith, 45, is in his 15th year with the team and had been promoted to vice president at the end of the 2008 season. In the three other promotions, Terry McDonough was named director, player personnel; Tim Mingey was named assistant director, college personnel; Andy Dengler was promoted to national scout.
"I take great pride that Wayne would entrust to me this type of defined role. I've invested a lot here professionally and there isn't anything in player personnel I haven't done. I believe, in a lot of ways, I've earned this opportunity," Smith said.
Del Rio said at his season-ending review that "Gene has the conn," which means Smith is in control of all personnel decisions. Smith said his focus will be on building the Jaguars through the draft.
"The expectation is to give our coaching staff a competitive advantage," Smith said. "I have a base-hit philosophy. The more you get on base, the more you're going to score, whereas the more you try to hit home runs, the more you're going to strike out.
"Our challenge is to build a playoff-caliber team that can compete to win a world championship. We have a staff of quality people who drive the process, and the player personnel department will continue to work with the coaching staff to collectively accumulate not only the best players, but the best people who possess our defined character traits. I'm looking forward to developing a roster with Jack that will give our coaching staff a competitive advantage."
Smith joined the Jaguars in 1994 as the team's Blesto scout. He has served as a college scout, director of college scouting and executive director of college and pro personnel.
"You should get players in here who develop a sense of this is my team," Smith said. "If this is their team, they're going to hold themselves and their teammates accountable."
Asked if the Jaguars are facing a rebuilding task, Smith said, "We need to re-tool the roster. It's not just about acquiring additional players to help us win, but acquiring the right type of people, too. I believe a player's character is his best talent."
McDonough has been with the Jaguars for six years and most recently served as national scout. A veteran of 20 years in scouting, McDonough has worked in scouting and supervisory roles for the Barcelona Dragons of the World League, in addition to the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens.
Mingey is one of 15 current Jaguars employees who have been with the organization for 14 years. He's been an executive scout for the last six seasons, after serving as a college scout for nine years. Previously, he spent 21 years as a college assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
Dengler was promoted to executive scout in 2008 after serving for 10 years as a college scout for the Jaguars.