Steelers News

Steelers Announce Passing Of WR Coach Darryl Drake

Some upsetting and unfortunate news to pass along Sunday morning as Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers coach Darryl Drake passed away this morning at the age of 62, according to the team.

Steelers team president Art Rooney II released a statement on Drake’s passing Sunday morning:

We are at a loss for words following Darryl Drake’s passing this morning. Darryl had such an impact on the players he coached and everyone he worked with throughout his entire career. He was a passionate coach and had a tremendous spirit toward life, his family, his faith and the game of football.

Our prayers and thoughts are with his wife, Sheila, his three daughters, his grandchildren and entire family during this difficult time.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin also released a statement on Drake’s passing:

Darryl was a close friend and had a tremendous impact on my coaching career. He was an amazing husband, father and grandfather, and it is difficult to put into words the grief our entire team is going through right now.

Darryl loved the game of football and every player he ever coached. We will use our faith to guide us and help his family throughout the difficult time.

My heart and our prayers are with his wife, Sheila, and Darryl’s entire family.

The Steelers were set to return to training camp practice Sunday afternoon, but that session has now been canceled. The Saint Vincent College campus is closed for the day.

Several current and former Steelers tweeted out their condolences.

Below is a copy of Drake’s bio from the Steelers website:

Darryl Drake is entering his second season as the Steelers’ wide receivers coach and his 16th year in the National Football League coaching ranks. He was hired on January 26, 2018.

Drake joined the Steelers after spending his previous five years in the same capacity with the Arizona Cardinals (2013-17) and nine years with the Chicago Bears (2004-12).

With the Cardinals his past five years, Drake coached wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who was selected to four Pro Bowls in that span, including his team-record 11th Pro Bowl selection in 2017. Fitzgerald totaled the third-most receptions in the NFL with Drake on staff from 2013-17 – hauling in 470 passes for 5,132 yards and 33 touchdown receptions. Fitzgerald eclipsed 100 receptions in each of his previous three seasons (2015-17), leading the NFL with 107 catches in 2016 – the second time he led the NFL in the category (2005).

Arizona finished the 2016 season with 418 points, the fourth-best total in Cardinals history, while having the ninth ranked offense in the NFL. In 2015, the Cardinals boasted the top-ranked offense in the NFL and established single-season records for points (489), touchdowns (59), touchdown passes (35), total net yards (6,533), first downs (373) and first downs passing (237). Fitzgerald set a franchise single-season record with 109 catches and John Brown totaled 65 grabs for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns in his second season. Fitzgerald and Brown’s 2015 campaign marked the fifth time in Cardinals history with multiple 1,000-receiving yard players. Drake was named the top wide receivers coach in the NFL in 2015 by Pro Football Focus.

In 2014, Drake mentored Brown, who established an NFL rookie record with four game-winning touchdown receptions on the season. Michael Floyd had a career-high with six touchdown catches and ranked second among NFL receivers with an average of 17.9 yards per reception. Floyd posted his first 1,000-yard season (1,041 yards) while collecting a career-high 65 receptions in 2013.

While in Chicago in 2012, Drake tutored Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall who set franchise records with 118 receptions for 1,508 yards to go along with 11 touchdown catches. Marshall finished second in the NFL in both receptions and receiving yards behind Detroit’s Calvin Johnson. Throughout his Bears tenure, Drake helped develop young talent, including Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett and Devin Hester. In 2011, Knox ranked second in the NFL in receiving yards (19.6 yards per catch), a year after finishing fifth in the League (18.8 yards per reception). In 2009, Knox’s 45 catches tied for the most ever by a Bears rookie wide receiver, tied for third all-time by a Chicago rookie and was seventh among all NFL rookies. In 2009, the Bears tied for the fewest dropped passes in the NFL (20). During Chicago’s Super Bowl run in 2006, the Bears led the NFL by hauling in 95.9 percent (282-of-294) of the catchable balls thrown their way. The 12 drops by Chicago’s receivers in 2006 matched Buffalo for the fewest in the NFL.

Before entering the NFL coaching ranks in 2004, Drake spent 21 seasons on the collegiate sideline.

He spent six seasons as the wide receivers coach at the University of Texas from 1998-2003, and added the title of associate head coach prior the 2003 campaign. At Texas, Drake guided three Longhorn wide receivers to first-team All-Big 12 honors and directed three of the most productive duos in Texas history. While coaching the first three 1,000-yard receiving in school history, the Longhorns averaged nearly 10 wins a season. Drake mentored first-round draft pick Roy Williams, who finished his Texas career as the leading receiver in school history with 251 catches for 4,017 yards and 37 touchdown receptions. He also coached Wayne McGarity, a fourth-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 1999.

In 1997, Drake served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Baylor. Prior to joining Baylor, Drake spent five seasons as the University of Georgia’s wide receivers coach from 1992-96, where he coached former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward and Andre Hastings.

Drake began his coaching career at his alma mater, Western Kentucky, as a graduate assistant from 1983-84 and spent his next nine seasons with the Hilltoppers:  wide receivers (1985-88), secondary (1989-90) and passing game coordinator/quarterbacks (1991).

Drake, a wide receiver at WKU in 1975 and from 1977-78, helped his school to reach an 8-2 record and the Ohio Valley Championship as a senior and was a member of the 11-2 OVC Championship squad that played in the 1975 Division II Championship game.

He spent time in two NFL training camps as a player with the Washington Redskins (1979) and the Cincinnati Bengals (1983) in addition to playing one season with the Ottawa Roughriders of the Canadian Football league in 1981.

Drake, a native of Louisville, Ky., earned his bachelor’s degree in 1980 and a master’s degree in 1984 from Western Kentucky University. He was an All-State performer in football and an All-American in both track and field and basketball at Flaget (Louisville, Ky.) High School. He and his wife, Shelia, have three daughters, Shanice, Felisha and Marian and two grandchildren.

Western Kentucky University
Graduate Assistant

Western Kentucky University
Wide Receivers

Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University
Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks

University of Georgia
Wide Receivers

Baylor University
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks

University of Texas
Wide Receivers

Chicago Bears
Wide Receivers

Arizona Cardinals
Wide Receivers

Pittsburgh Steelers
Wide Receivers

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