Dick Haley, Architect Of Steelers’ 1974 Draft, Dies At 85

Dick Haley, the man frequently credited as the architect of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ legendary 1974 draft class that featured five future Pro Football Hall of Famers, died Friday at the age of 85, his son Todd Haley, a former Steelers’ offensive coordinator, announced on Twitter.

“Very sorry to say, the world, the NFL and the entire family lost one of the best people I’ve ever known and my idol,” Todd Haley wrote on Twitter Friday morning. “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!”

Dick Haley, who was born in Midway, Pennsylvania, went on to play college football at the University of Pittsburgh before being drafted in the ninth round at No. 100 overall by Washington. After two seasons in Washington, Haley spent a season with the Minnesota Vikings before joining the Steelers. He was a cornerback for the Steelers from 1961-64.

Following his time as a player with the Steelers, Haley became the Steelers’ Director of Player Personnel from 1971 to 1989, helping put together the Steelers’ legendary 1974 draft class that included the likes of Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Jack Lambert, Mike Webster and Donnie Shell.

That draft class, of course, played an instrumental role in the Steelers’ dynasty of the 70s, winning four Super Bowls.

Following his time as the Director of Player Personnel with the Steelers, Haley went on to hold the same role with the New York Jets from 1991-2007.

Haley was inducted into the Pittsburgh Pro Football Hall of Fame as a scout as part of the inaugural class of 2011.

Steelers President Art Rooney II released a statement Friday following the passing of Haley, calling him an instrumental part of the Steelers’ success in the 70s.

“We lost an amazing football mind and a better man with the passing of Dick Haley,” Rooney said in his statement. “He was a valuable part of the franchise for 23 years, the first four of those as a player and the final 19 as a member of the Player Personnel Department.

“Dick played an instrumental role in our unprecedented success in the 1970s during the second part of his career. 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.

“My condolences go out to the entire Haley family during this difficult time.”

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