Dick Haley, 1970s Steelers dynasty era director of player personnel, dies at 85

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 28:  Dick Haley, former Director of Player Personnel for the Pittsburgh Steelers, looks on from the sideline before a game between the Steelers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Heinz Field on September 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Buccaneers defeated the Steelers 27-24.  (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Dick Haley, former Director of Player Personnel for the Pittsburgh Steelers, died at 85 years old. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Former Pittsburg Steelers dynasty era director of personnel Dick Haley has died at 85, after a “long fight” with dementia and Parkinson’s, his son Todd announced Friday morning.

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.

Aside from his career as an NFL player, 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 draft class. They went on to help lead the team to Super Bowl IX and three more Super Bowl titles. That’s four Super Bowl wins during his tenure (1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979).

Born in Midway, Pennsylvania, Haley played football at the University of Pittsburg. He was drafted in the ninth round (No. 100 overall) by the then Washington Redskins. Two years into his career, split a season between the Minnesota Vikings and Steelers. He played in Pittsburg 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.”