P.J. Fleck always values experience, character and strong recruiting skills while searching for assistant coaches. He once again checked all of those boxes by hiring longtime college and NFL defensive line coach Brick Haley.
Haley has spent more than 30 years coaching pass rushers at 11 different schools across the country. He was also the Chicago Bears’ defensive line coach for two seasons under Lovie Smith. While working with the Bears, he coached Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris and developed edge rusher Adewale Ogunleye.
Under his instruction, Chicago’s seven percent sack percentage ranked sixth in the NFL during the 2007 season. Haley left the Bears after the 2008 season and accepted the defensive line coach position at LSU. While with the Tigers, he coached Barkevious Mingo (first round pick), Danielle Hunter (third round pick), Al Woods (fourth round pick) and Michael Brockers (first round pick). Each of those players were drafted and built successful NFL careers.
Not to mention, during his time in Baton Rouge, Haley worked within two of the six most efficient defenses (2009 and 2011) in LSU football history since 1970. Only the 2006 and 1970 teams posted a better S&P-plus defensive rating than the 2011 group, according to College Football Data’s API database.
Eventually, after having success with the Tigers, Haley accepted the defensive line coach position at Texas in 2015. During his two seasons in Austin, Brick worked with both Charles Omenihu (fifth round pick in 2019) and Hassan Ridgeway (fourth round pick). The Longhorns finished the 2015 season with 40 total sacks, which ranked No. 11 in the nation. That same success extended into the next season too. During the 2016 campaign, Texas’ 37 total sacks slotted in at No. 14 nationally.
Haley spent two seasons in Austin before joining Barry Odom’s staff at Missouri. While there, he was the program’s defensive line coach and Senior Associate Head Coach for four seasons. Haley again coached another top defensive line prospect, Jordan Elliott, an eventual third-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns.
Then, once Missouri hired Steve Wilks as its new defensive coordinator before the 2021 season, the program parted ways with Haley. It did not take long for Haley to find work though. He most recently served as an analyst on Mack Brown’s staff at North Carolina.
From a schematic perspective, Haley has primarily worked within four-man fronts. Texas dashed in some 3-4 looks during the 2016 season and Missouri frequently mixed things up as well. That type of background within a variety of different schemes will bring a nice outside perspective to the Gophers’ defensive staff.
More importantly, Haley is an impactful voice on the recruiting trail. He has recruited 20 four-star prospects during his college coaching career and was the primary contact for Danielle Hunter. The longtime defensive line coach also had success while recruiting North/South Carolina, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama. With Clay Patterson and Joe Harasymiak leaving Minnesota’s staff for promotions, the Gophers needed to find an assistant who could recruit these areas at a high level. Haley has shown that ability, which is very important.
The Gophers certainly have big shoes to fill with Chad Wilt accepting the defensive coordinator job at Indiana. He was a dynamic recruiter, relationship-builder and talent developer. However, Haley has a strong background in those areas and should seamlessly transition into Joe Rossi’s staff.
Outside of his work on the field, Haley is very active in the community and runs his own family foundation, Brick Road to Success. Brick’s son, A.J. was diagnosed with autism when he was eight years old and the family uses the foundation to create awareness and research initiatives. You can learn more about it by clicking here.
Also, here is a direct link to the Brick Road to Success website.