Ohio State Hires Former 49ers Defensive Backs Coach Jeff Hafley As Co-Defensive Coordinator

By Kevin Harrish on January 7, 2019 at 2:22 pm
Jeff Hafley
San Francisco 49ers

Ohio State has its replacement for Alex Grinch as the Buckeyes hired former San Francisco 49ers defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley as their co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach, the school announced on Monday.

“Jeff is a rising star and highly regarded as one of the best secondary coaches in the country," new Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said in a release. "His NFL knowledge coaching the secondary is only going to enhance and improve what has become a marquee area for the Buckeyes."

Hafley will work alongside former Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison, who was also hired on Monday. The two co-coordinators will work in tandem to lead the Buckeye defense.

“I love the idea of having two coordinators on defense,” Day said. “I like having a diversity of opinion, but even more I like the expertise and experience that Jeff has in the secondary coupled with the expertise that Greg brings to the front seven."

The duo will replace Greg Schiano and Alex Grinch. Grinch left Ohio State to become defensive coordinator at Oklahoma last week and Schiano will reportedly not return to coach the Buckeyes this year.

The news of Hafley's addition to Ohio State's staff was first reported by Pete Thamel.

Hafley has five seasons of experience coaching defensive backs in the NFL, including the past three seasons with the 49ers, where he was on the same coaching staff as Ryan Day in 2016. He also coached defensive backs at the Division I college level for four seasons.

Before moving to the NFL, Hafley was the defensive backs coach at the University of Pittsburgh from 2008 to 2010 and spent one as the defensive backs coach at Rutgers in 2011, where he worked under Greg Schiano.

His NFL experience began with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013, following Schiano's move from Rutgers, before he moved to Cleveland to coach the Browns in 2014 and 2015. He most recently coached in San Francisco, where he's been the defensive backs coach since the 2016 season.

Eleven Warriors will have more on Hafley's hiring.

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