Jim Haslett, an IUP football Hall of Famer, will begin another coaching stint in the NFL.
Chase Haslett, Jim’s son and IUP’s backup quarterback in 2015, is following in his father’s footsteps.
On Jan. 15, the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals made it official that Jim will replace Matt Burke as their linebackers coach.
He will attempt to help improve a Bengals team that finished its 2015 season with a disappointing loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, making that its fifth consecutive playoff loss, this one coming after a 12-4 season.
Chase, who played quarterback at the University of Illinois before transferring to IUP to continue his collegiate career, will serve as a quality control assistant at the University of Nebraska.
The Huskers went 6-7 last season and upset the UCLA Bruins, 37-29, in the Foster Farms Bowl.
Chase’s father carries a lofty status in Indiana, as Haslett became a three-time AP All-American at defensive end from 1976-1978 for the school. He also received first-team All-American honors from the AFCA in 1977 and 1978.
Haslett is fourth in IUP history with 412 tackles, and he also kicked his way into the record book, ranking second in single-season and career punting average.
Recognizing his superb football career, the Buffalo Bills selected Haslett in the second round of the 1979 NFL Draft as a linebacker. Haslett won 1979 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and played in Buffalo for six seasons.
Haslett was around for most of the team’s success in 1980 and 1981, going 11-5 and 10-6, respectively, and making the playoffs both times. Haslett ended his playing career with the New York Jets in 1987 before retiring and transitioning to a career in coaching.
The IUP legend’s first coaching job came shortly after retirement, as he became an assistant coach at the University of Buffalo in 1988.
Haslett next coached in the World League of American Football with the Sacramento Surge as a defensive assistant coach from 1991-1992 before getting his first NFL coaching call.
The Los Angeles Raiders hired him to become linebackers coach in 1993. His first coordinator job came in 1996 with New Orleans, and he eventually graduated to its head coaching position in 2000.
That year, Haslett led the Saints to a 10-6 record, their second-ever NFC West division title and the franchise’s first playoff victory after going 3-13 the previous season with Mike Ditka. As a result, Haslett earned NFL Coach of the Year.
Haslett then served as defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams from 2006-08, including a stint as interim head coach in 2008.
His most recent outings were with the Washington Redskins from 2010-2014 as a defensive coordinator before spending 2015 as a consultant for Penn State University football.
Haslett coached three linebackers to the Pro Bowl in 2012, including future Hall-of-Famer London Fletcher.
Haslett will now have the pleasure of coaching one of the best linebacking corps in the NFL, led by Rey Maualuga, A.J. Hawk – a 2010 Pro Bowler – and 2013 Pro Bowler Vontaze Burfict.
Haslett will work under head coach Marvin Lewis, who has been coaching the Bengals for a franchise-record 13 years. Lewis is 112-94 with Cincinnati but 0-7 in the playoffs over the course of his tenure.
In a statement released by the team, Lewis said, “Jim is just a very outstanding and thorough football coach. He has a tremendous background, including both as a head coach and a coordinator. It’s a wealth of expertise and ideas that he’s going to bring to a position group that has to be successful for us to succeed as a team.”
Meanwhile, Chase’s career as a Crimson Hawk ended with 192 completions out of 320 attempts for 2,362 yards. Haslett threw a career-high 16 touchdowns in 2014 and had 18 total for his career to go along with 16 interceptions.
Based off of the hefty coaching resume Jim has built, you have to imagine this isn’t the end of the road for either of them.