The Green Bay Packers parted ways with defensive coordinator Joe Barry at the conclusion of the 2023 season.
For a while, the Packers brass was conducting a thorough interview of potential candidates to replace Barry, before the team locked down former Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley last week.
The Packers announced Wednesday night that Hafley will take over for Barry, who was fired last week after three seasons as Green Bay’s defensive coordinator. Hafley went 22-26 at Boston College in four seasons, including a 7-6 mark this past season with a Fenway Bowl victory over SMU.
“I loved my four years at Boston College,” Hafley said in a statement released by the school. “This is an exceptional place to coach given the caliber of student-athletes we recruit, the facilities and the support from the University and BC fans. I will miss the players who gave so much of themselves these past four years, and my wife Gina and I will certainly miss the BC community and the many friends we have made here.”
The 44-year-old Hafley becomes the latest college head coach to leave for a role as an assistant after Maurice Linguist departed from Buffalo and Kane Wommack exited South Alabama to join new Alabama coach Kalen DeBoer’s staff.
His move also re-opens the coaching carousel, giving Boston College the only vacancy of any Football Bowl Subdivision program.
Hafley had worked as an NFL secondary coach with Tampa Bay (2012-13), Cleveland (2014-15) and San Francisco (2016-18) before becoming Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 2019.
“Jeff has had success at every stop of his coaching career with an impressive track record of developing players at every level,” Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur said in a statement announcing the hire. “We look forward to him leading our defense.”
Hafley takes over a defense that underperformed for much of this season before rallying late.
Green Bay ranked 10th in points allowed per game (20.6), 17th in yards allowed per game (335.1) and 23rd in yards allowed per play (5.4) during the regular season with a defense featuring eight former first-round draft picks.
Green Bay’s season ended with a 24-21 NFC divisional playoff loss at San Francisco in which the 49ers drove 69 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:07 remaining.
Green Bay Packers Fan Applies For Defensive Coordinator Job, Gets Epic Response From Team President Mark Murphy
Like any coaching search, the Packers interviewed multiple candidates before finally landing on Hafley as their next defensive coordinator.
According to KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson, Ravens linebackers coach and newly appointed defensive coordinator Zach Orr turned down the Packers’ offer to join LaFleur’s staff. Orr has been with the Baltimore Ravens organization for a decade after signing with the team as a player in 2014 before retiring due to injury concerns and joining John Harbaugh’s staff.
This marks the second time in recent years that the Packers’ reportedly top candidate has turned them down for a different position after Jim Leonard decided to stay in Madison after the team fired former DC Mike Pettine in 2021.
But according to a Twitter user named Dan McDermott, his cousin applied for the Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator as well, with his only experience coming from fantasy football.
Here’s what McDermott says about the epic response his cousin got from Packers President Mark Murphy that takes a direct shot at the rival Chicago Bears.
My cousin Bill applied for the Green Bay Packers Defensive Coordinator opening. He received a hand written letter back from President & CEO Mark Murphy. It reads: “Bill, Thanks so much for your cover letter and resume regarding our Defensive Coordinator position. While your fantasy football experience is impressive, I regret to inform you that we have decided to go in a different direction. I hear the Bears have an opening – you look to be a perfect fit for them. Thanks again. Sincerely-Mark”