Thomas Dimitroff Jr.

Portrait by Robert Howson

Growing up with a legendary football father, Tom Dimitroff Jr. seemed destined for the world of football. He starred locally in high school before playing defensive back for the Guelph Gryphons, eventually being named their captain from 1988 to 1990. After graduating with his Bachelor of Arts degree, he began a long journey that would reach heights that may have seemed unassailable to the young Dimitroff at the time.

His first job was with the Saskatchewan Roughriders as their director of Canadian scouting. He then spent a short time working for the World League of American Football, moved to Japan, and almost left football altogether before giving the game one more shot in the humble role as a member of the Cleveland Browns grounds crew where his father, Tom Sr. was a scout. This would be his first meeting with then Browns head coach Bill Belichick.

Soon Dimitroff was doing some part-time scouting for the Kansas City Chiefs, and then became a full-time area scout for the Detroit Lions, before being hired for a similar role with the Browns.

In 2002 he was reunited with Belichick as a national scout with the New England Patriots and a year later was named the club’s director of college scouting, a key role he held through the 2007 season. He would be an important part of the Patriots wins in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX and one of the architects of their perfect 16-0 regular season in 2007.

After six seasons with the Patriots he was hired as the general manager of the Atlanta Falcons. Dimitroff had an immediate impact as the Falcons made the playoffs for the first time in four years and as a result the new GM was named the Sporting News 2008 Executive of the Year. He would receive this award again in 2010 as the Falcons went 13-3 during the regular season.

It is an incredible story – from a member of the grounds crew in Cleveland to become one of the longest serving general manager’s in the NFL!

Inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame – Builder category – May 18, 2016