Jerome Vainisi, Class of 1969
Former general manager and executive vice president of the Chicago Bears
Jerry Vainisi was the General Manager and Executive Vice President of the Chicago Bears and led the Bears to their only Super Bowl win in 1985 when they defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX. Prior to being named General Manager, Vainisi had worked in the Bears organization for 11 years, serving as Treasurer and In-House Counsel, and as a member of the Board of Directors. Before his work in the National Football League, he worked for Arthur Anderson & Co. In 1987, he joined the Detroit Lions as Vice President of Player Personnel and drafted Barry Sanders and the nucleus of players that ultimately played in the 1992 NFC Championship Game. He left the Lions in 1990 to create and head the football operations of the NFL’s World League of American Football, which later became NFL Europe, the NFL’s international developmental league.
In 1995, Vainisi retired from professional football and joined the Chicago law firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson, heading its Sports & Entertainment Law group. In 2010, he was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame. Today, he is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Forest Park National Bank & Trust Co., an independent, family-owned community bank.