McCaskey will retire after 2010, yield Bears' chairman job to brother

CHICAGO -- Bears chairman Michael McCaskey announced Wednesday that he will retire after the 2010 season and said the family of founder George Halas doesn't plan to sell the storied franchise.

"We intend for our family to own the Bears as long as you care to think about it," McCaskey said at a news conference in suburban Lake Forest, Ill.

McCaskey will turn over chairman duties to his brother, George McCaskey, who has been directing the Bears' ticket operations.. Virginia McCaskey, the team's owner, is 87 and still the secretary of the board of directors.

"My mom and I are both in good health, but you never know what's coming next," Michael McCaskey said. "We lost Walter Payton, and that certainly affected me. Walter said it very well. He said tomorrow's not promised to anyone, so you just don't know what's coming ahead."

A grandson of Halas, McCaskey taught at Harvard Business School and operated a Boston consulting company before joining the Bears. He served as team president from 1983 to 1999, a stint that included the Bears' only Super Bowl victory following the 1985 season, with Mike Ditka coaching a team that included Payton and quarterback Jim McMahon and a defense led by Mike Singletary.

McCaskey, 66, also is the man who fired Ditka after the 1992 season.

One of McCaskey's roughest moments came in 1999 when the Bears botched the hiring of Dave McGinnis as head coach. The team issued a press release and called a news conference to introduce McGinnis, who was livid because no agreement had been reached. Trying to put the incident quickly behind them, the Bears then turned to Dick Jauron as head coach.

Not long after the incident, Virginia McCaskey made the decision to boot her son upstairs and promote Ted Phillips, who was the Bears' director of finance. Phillips is still the team's president and CEO.

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"It's disappointing to foul up like that and to cause grief for other people whom you admire," Michael McCaskey said at the time.

George McCaskey said his top priority as chairman will be to represent the owners in league matters.

"Our entire family supports the notion of being the owners of the Chicago Bears for as long as possible," he said.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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