The Atlanta Falcons announced Tuesday Terry Fontenot has been named the team’s general manager.
Fontenot joins the Falcons after spending the last 18 seasons as a member of the New Orleans Saints organization. He worked his way through the organization’s ranks, starting out as a marketing intern before switching to the scouting department and climbing the ladder from intern to pro scout, and eventually advancing to vice president/assistant general manager of pro personnel.
“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 M. Blank, Falcons owner and chairman. “In his past positions, he has shown the ability to make strong decisions and judgements 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 honor the expectations they have with tremendous passion and dedication to competitive excellence.
“I thank Rich McKay and so many across our organization that played a vital role in the comprehensive and well-coordinated process that resulted in Terry joining our family.”
In New Orleans, Fontenot served as a close confidant for general manager Mickey Loomis and managed the pro personnel department include player acquisitions and evaluating players. With Fontenot leading the pro personnel department, the Saints have shown a keen eye for adding impact players through free agency.
“Over the last 18 years I have been honored and blessed with the opportunity to learn and grow within a great organization,” said Fontenot. “I don’t have the words to express my thanks and gratitude to the late Mr. Benson, Mrs. Benson, Mickey Loomis, Dennis Lauscha, Coach Payton and the entire Saints family. Without their mentorship and guidance, I would not be in the position I am today, and we are thankful for everything they have provided our family for nearly two decades.
“Because of their leadership and the opportunities they provided me, I have been selective on what direction my career would take, with a focus on organizations that aligned with my principals and goals. With the Atlanta Falcons, I have found the perfect opportunity for my family’s next steps. I feel honored and thankful that Arthur Blank and Rich McKay have given me this privilege and I look forward to working alongside the two of them, Arthur Smith and our entire organization as we strive together to reach our competitive goals and give our fans the performances they deserve. My family and I are thrilled to make our new home in Atlanta and look forward to meeting our fellow Falcon fans.”
Although he’s spent much of his career on the pro scouting side, serving as a pro scouting intern, player personnel assistant and pro scout before his promotion to director of pro scouting, Fontenot has seen his role expand in scope since 2015. After Ryan Pace was hired as the general manager of the Chicago Bears, Fontenot began working closely with college scouting director, and former Dolphins GM, Jeff Ireland, Loomis and head coach Sean Payton to develop a versatile group that could identify players that fit the team’s vision, whether they were on NFL rosters, practice squads, free agents, college players or otherwise.
Free agents who have signed with the Saints since 2015 that have gone on to earn Pro Bowl honors include tight end Jared Cook, linebacker Demario Davis, kicker Wil Lutz and guard Larry Warford, along with center Max Unger who the Saints acquired in a trade with Seattle.
In 2012, Fontenot attended the Stanford Business School's Executive Education NFL-Stanford Program for Managers, an education program and honor known across the league as training ground for promising executives.
A native of Lake Charles, La., he was an all-state defensive back at Lagrange High School. A four-year letterman at safety for Tulane (1999-2002), Fontenot served as a team captain in 2001 and was a member of the 2002 team that won the Hawaii Bowl. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in business and organizational information technology.