COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mizzou Head Football Coach Eli Drinkwitz has chosen a familiar face to Tiger fans to join his brand-new coaching staff. Brick Haley, who has coached at MU for the past three seasons, will stay on as part of Drinkwitz’s staff, as assistant head coach, and he will continue his work with the defensive line.
Haley joined Mizzou prior to the 2017 season, and his linemen have played a key role in the Tiger defense developing into one of the SEC’s top units. The 2019 season saw his star pupil, DT Jordan Elliott, earn first-team All-America honors by Pro Football Focus, as well as All-SEC honors for his outstanding play, as the Tigers produced the nation’s 14th-ranked defense, allowing 312.0 yards per game, while ranking 17th nationally in points allowed (19.4 avg.).
“In my short time of being around Brick I know him to be a man of high character who gets the most out of his players,” said Drinkwitz. “His wealth of knowledge with the defensive line is exactly what we’re looking for to motivate young men.”
In 2018, Haley’s defensive line developed into one of the more disruptive forces in the vaunted Southeastern Conference. Mizzou’s defense finished the regular season ranked 22nd nationally against the run (fourth in the SEC), allowing just 122.9 yards per game to opponents. That per-game total was the lowest allowed by a Mizzou defense since 2009, when the Tigers allowed 118.6 rushing yards per game playing in the pass-heavy Big 12.
Senior DT Terry Beckner, Jr., led the team in tackles for loss (11.0), and earned second-team All-SEC acclaim by both the league media and coaches, while Elliott also developed nicely in his first year playing for the Tigers, and was named second-team All-SEC by Pro Football Focus.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue at Mizzou and I’m excited to work with Coach Drink and his staff,” said Haley. “Our family loves Mizzou and being part of the Columbia community, so we’re thrilled to keep stakes in the ground here and I’m looking forward to getting to work on doing great things,” he said.
Haley’s arrival at Mizzou paid immediate dividends in 2017 as the defense – led largely by his big guys in the trenches – ranked in the Top 25 nationally in both tackles for loss (13th in NCAA/1st in SEC – 7.7 avg.) and quarterback sacks (24th in NCAA/4th in SEC – 2.6 avg.). Haley oversaw the continuing development of several high-impact linemen, including senior DE Marcell Frazier, who earned second-team All-SEC honors after leading the SEC with 13.5 tackles for loss.
Also blossoming under Haley’s direction was Beckner, Jr., who had 10.5 tackles for loss and tied Frazier for the team lead with 7.0 sacks. In addition, redshirt freshman DE Tre Williams earned 2017 SEC All-Freshman Team honors after totaling 4.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks and four quarterback pressures.
Haley came to Mizzou after enjoying great success for 19 years overall at numerous stops. In all, Haley – an outstanding recruiter and developer of talent – has logged 29 years as a full-time defensive coach, including three as defensive coordinator, and two as an assistant in the National Football League.
Prior to Mizzou, Haley spent two seasons at Texas, where he coached the Longhorn defensive line. Texas’ 2016 defense led the Big 12 Conference in both quarterback sacks (3.42 per game) and tackles for loss (7.6 per game), while ranking fifth and 16th nationally in those categories, respectively. In 2015, Texas ranked fifth in the NCAA in sacks. Prior to his time in Austin, Haley was at LSU for six seasons (2009-14), where he perennially directed one of the nation’s most disruptive defensive fronts. At LSU, he coached 10 defensive linemen who were selected in the NFL Draft, including a pair of first-round picks in DT Michael Brockers (No. 12 overall in 2012) and DE Barkevious Mingo (No. 6 overall in 2013). Haley’s line was key reason why the Tigers went 13-0 in the 2011 regular season and reached the 2012 BCS Championship Game.
Haley moved to LSU in the spring of 2009 after spending two years as defensive line coach with the NFL’s Chicago Bears. In Chicago, Haley coached a line that helped the Bears rank fifth in the league in fewest rushing yards allowed in 2008. The Bears finished sixth in the NFL in sacks in 2007, with DE Tommie Harris earning a spot in the Pro Bowl.
Prior to his NFL stop, Haley spent three years (2004-06) as the defensive line coach at Mississippi State. He helped improve a Bulldogs defense that finished 41st nationally in 2006 after finishing 113th a year before his arrival. Defensive end Titus Brown developed into a second-team All-SEC selection after leading the team and ranking fifth in the conference in sacks in 2006.
In 2005, Haley coached the SEC leader in sacks (third in NCAA) and tackles for loss (fourth in NCAA) in Willie Evans, who went on to spend four years in the NFL.
Before arriving at Mississippi State, Haley coached linebackers for two years (2002-2003) at Georgia Tech, where he helped the Yellow Jackets to a pair of bowl games. In 2003, he coached a first-team All-ACC performer after Tech’s trio of starting linebackers finished the 2002 season as the team’s top three tacklers.
Previously, Haley was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Baylor (1999-2001) after coaching outside linebackers for one season each at Clemson (1998) and Houston (1997). The defensive line coach at Troy State from 1994-96, he was promoted to defensive coordinator following the 1996 campaign before leaving for Houston. Haley coached the defensive line at Austin Peay from 1991-93 after starting his college coaching career as a graduate assistant at Arkansas in 1990. His first coaching job was at Enterprise (Ala.) High School in 1989.
A native of Gadsden, Ala., Haley attended Alabama A&M, where he was a standout linebacker from 1984-88. He received Alabama A&M’s Inspiration Award in 1987 and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player in 1988. In 2005, Haley was inducted into A&M’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Off the field, Haley is passionate about raising awareness for autism, and he hosts a golf tournament each year with proceeds going to his foundation: Brick Road to Success. He and his wife, Tina, have three sons: Adrian, A.J. and Jeremy.