Former Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty era director of personnel Dick Haley has died after a "long fight" with dementia and Parkinson's, his son Todd announced Friday morning. He was 85.
A former Kansas City Chiefs head coach and longtime NFL assistant, Todd worked for the Steelers as offensive coordinator from 2012-17. He referred to his father as "one of the best people" he's ever known." His "idol" gave him "the best chance to succeed in this world," he wrote.
Very sorry to say , the world , the NFL and my entire family lost one of the best people I’ve ever known and my idol. A man that gave me the best chance to succeed in this world. My father Dick Haley after long fight with dementia and Parkinson’s. I love you DAD! #steelers #NFL
— Todd Haley (@thetoddhaley) March 10, 2023
Aside from his career as an NFL player, Dick Haley is often credited for his role in selecting the Steelers' renowned 1974 draft class which included Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster — four future inductees in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Donnie Shell was signed as an undrafted free agent after the draft ended and also made the Hall of Fame from that class. They went on to help lead the team to Super Bowl IX and four Super Bowls in total (1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979).
Born in Midway, Pennsylvania, Haley played football at the University of Pittsburgh. He was drafted in the ninth round (No. 100 overall) by the then Washington Redskins. After two years in Washington, followed by a split season between the Minnesota Vikings and Steelers, Haley found his home. He played in Pittsburgh for four seasons and started 39 of his 49 games, making 13 interceptions and scoring a touchdown. He was hired as director of player personnel in 1971 and remained in the role until 1990.
Former Steelers personnel director, now team president Art Rooney II, worked on the historic 1974 draft class with Haley.
“Dick played an instrumental role in our unprecedented success in the 1970s during the second part of his career,” Rooney said in a statement. “He developed a unique eye for talent, and he ultimately helped identify and draft many of the players that allowed us to win four Super Bowls during that decade.”