Kansas City, Mo. Whenever conversation at the Haley family dinner table turned to football, it was more than just talk.
It was education. While Dick Haley was personnel director at Pittsburgh and helping craft the great Steelers dynasty of the 1970s, Todd Haley was absorbing skills and insights to which few youngsters could hope to be exposed.
He rose to prominence this year as offensive coordinator for the NFC champion Arizona Cardinals and on Friday, just weeks shy of his 42nd birthday, was introduced as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I would not be where I’m at right now without my father, or without having the father that I did,” Haley said.
He replaces Herm Edwards, who was fired at the end of a 2-14 season, and fills the NFL’s last remaining head-coaching vacancy.
Dick Haley was personnel director at Pittsburgh from 1971-90 before going on to other front-office jobs in the NFL.
“He knew what good was,” Todd Haley said. “And I’ve just always believed that was a big asset of mine, the fact I grew up in personnel, went to bowl games with him, went to practice with him, watched tape on the wall with him.”
One of the people who worked under the elder Haley in New York was Scott Pioli, who was named Chiefs general manager last month. Pioli became friends with his new head coach when the two were with the New York Jets.
“I worked for Todd’s father, Dick, who’s probably one of the finest personnel men in the history of the National Football League,” Pioli said.
“Todd has a very unique background, and something I told (Chiefs owner) Clark (Hunt) was important was finding a head coach who not only understands personnel, but understands scouting, understands football players. I think Todd brings a very unique background in the sense that he grew up in a football family. His father was a personnel director and one of the best ever.”
Haley inherits a team that lost all but two of its last 25 games and is joining a franchise that hasn’t won a postseason game since an aging Joe Montana was quarterback in the 1993 season.
“Todd is very bright,” Pioli said. “He’s extremely dedicated and very strong-willed. Those are the qualifications I was looking to partner with, Clark was looking to partner with, and we really feel Todd is the right guy and is going to do a heck of a job here.”