Vince Lombardi called them his War Council. In 1965 - Bill Curry's rookie year with the Green Bay Packers - that group included future Pro Football Hall of Famers Willie Davis, Bart Starr and Forrest Gregg. The team won the NFL Championship that year, and the Packers went on to become the decade's football dynasty.
"They were great leaders and great men, and I just observed how they worked," Georgia State's head football coach now remembers. "They provided consistent leadership and positive leadership for the team."
They also sharpened Curry's perception of what it means to be a leader. As a unit, they set the standard both on and off the field, and they kept the players and Lombardi, the Packers' fiery head coach, from ever coming to loggerheads.
On each of his teams throughout Curry's long and illustrious coaching career, he's sought to assemble his own core group of players - team members who lead by example in the classroom, in the locker room and, as Curry tells it, "in the fourth quarter when we're coming down the stretch against an outstanding football team."
Now, as Georgia State football gets set to enter its sophomore season, Curry has established a Leadership Council of 13 young men who are committed to the pursuit of excellence as students and as athletes, and who are leaders for the entire Panther football team.
In the past, Curry's group of team leaders topped out at seven members, with each member representing a characteristic of the team's make-up. This group, he says, is his first to expand to double digits.
"This has grown to 13 simply because we think we have that many outstanding leaders," he says.
Curry and the coaching staff appointed the first seven members last season. The group then expanded when the council elected, with the encouragement of the coaches, six others whom the players believed belonged in the fold.
To become part of the Leadership Council, Curry says, a student-athlete must "take on the leadership mantle with vigor" and always put the team first.
"The most important attribute is that they are unselfish," he says.
They also must adhere to the council's Code of Honor - a document the group penned themselves. Joining the Leadership Council, it reads, is a "solemn and voluntary obligation on the part of the Georgia State University Football Team to live by the highest standards of truth and honor."
Their mission statement is clear and to the point: "To create a team and then lead that team to championship performance on and off the field."
Moreover, much like Lombardi's War Council, the group acts as the player extension of the head coach, says Michael Davis, the council's president.
"If he's missing something, or if the players are feeling a certain way, then we're the voice of the players to Coach Curry," Davis says. "And we're the voice of Coach Curry to the players. It's our job as a unit to get everyone together."
Or, as the head coach says, "I can say to them that we need our men to pick it up in a certain area, and they will see that it happens."
Curry is quick to point out that there have been players kicked off the Council.
"If you break a rule, you're off, and we have had a couple of members who have been dropped," he says.
Indeed, being a member of the Leadership Council is an all-encompassing requirement, and one that will impact more than just the Panther football team's wins and losses.
"These are men who are not only leaders for Georgia State football, but men who will go out and become leaders in whatever they pursue for the rest of their lives," Curry says.