Austin Gunsel

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Austin Gunsel
Date of birth April 2, 1909
Place of birth Irvington, New Jersey, United States
Date of death June 17, 1974(1974-06-17) (aged 65)
Place of death Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, United States
Career information
College Penn - Wharton School
Career history
As administrator
1952-1956 NFL Investigative Chair
1956-1966 NFL Treasurer
1959-1960 NFL Commissioner (interim)

Austin H. Gunsel (April 2, 1909 - June 17, 1974) is best remembered for serving as the National Football League's interim commissioner following the death of Bert Bell on October 11, 1959.

A native of Irvington, New Jersey[1] and a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Gunsel joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1939. He served as both J. Edgar Hoover's administrative assistant and as a special agent for the Bureau, and during his crime-fighting career, served in the New York City, Detroit and Chicago field offices.

In 1952, Gunsel was hired by the NFL to head the league's investigative department, a move made in response to commissioner Bert Bell's fear of a scandal damaging the league's image. Gunsel became league treasurer in 1956, holding the post until his retirement ten years later. He served as acting president of the NFL after Bell's death in October 1959.

In January 1960 at a meeting of NFL owners, he was the early frontrunner to get the commissioner's job, but Los Angeles Rams general manager Pete Rozelle was ultimately elected to the post on January 26 after 23 ballots.

Gunsel died at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.


  1. "N.F.L. Picks Interim Chief; Gunsel is chosen by Club Owners. Acting Chief of Pro League Since Bell's Death to Serve Until January", The New York Times, October 15, 1959.