Veteran coach Hargreaves named Hogs’ linebackers coach
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Vernon Hargreaves has been named Arkansas’ linebackers coach, according to a statement issued Tuesday (Jan. 20) from the office of head coach Bret Bielema.
Hargreaves (pronounced Har-graves) joins the Arkansas staff with 30 years of collegiate coaching experience, including the past 17 years at the FBS level. In those 17 seasons, Hargreaves’ teams have advanced to 14 bowl games, including two appearances in the BCS National Championship while at Miami. As the Hurricanes’ linebackers coach, he helped Miami win the 2002 BCS National Championship season and was the position coach for NFL stars Jonathan Vilma, Dan Morgan and D.J. Williams.
“I am very excited about Coach Hargreaves as the newest addition to our excellent coaching staff,” said Bielema. “I have known Vernon for more than a decade and he has the ability and proven experience to adapt to multiple systems as a linebackers coach. His championship pedigree will make our linebackers better and help us continue recruiting from coast to coast.”
“Bret (Bielema) and I have known each other for a long time and I am honored to join such an outstanding coaching staff,” said Hargreaves. “I’m very passionate about recruiting South Florida, and cannot wait to start bringing more Florida Hogs to Fayetteville. (Defensive coordinator) Robb Smith and the defensive staff have done an excellent job and I look forward to helping the Razorbacks take the next step towards an SEC championship.”
Hargreaves spent the past two seasons at Houston where he coached linebackers. In 2014, he helped the Cougars finish 8-5, including a come-from-behind victory over Pittsburgh in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. The Cougars ranked second in The American and 11th nationally with 30 forced turnovers and 15th nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 20.6 points per game.
In 2013, Hargreaves helped Houston rank as the third-most improved defense nationally after allowing just 21.8 points per game, 14.2 points per game lower than the previous season. Houston led the nation with 43 turnovers created and also led the country in turnover margin.
Prior to Houston, Hargreaves served as the special teams coordinator and defensive ends coach at South Florida. The Bulls finished second nationally in tackles for loss and fourth nationally in sacks during the 2011 season, in large part due to the outstanding play of Hargreaves’ defensive ends. He helped South Florida claim its fourth bowl victory in school history with a win in the 2010 Meineke Car Care Bowl over Clemson.
Hargreaves also spent three seasons as the special teams coordinator and defensive ends coach at East Carolina from 2007 to 2009. He helped defensive end C.J. Wilson earn back-to-back Conference USA defensive player of the year awards in 2008 and 2009. Wilson was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2010 NFL Draft and started at defensive end for the Packers in Super Bowl XLV. The Pirates played in a bowl game in all three seasons Hargreaves was on the coaching staff.
From 1998 to 2005, Hargreaves was the linebackers coach at Miami, where he helped lead the Hurricanes to a BCS National Championship title in 2002 and another BCS National Championship Game appearance in 2003. At Miami, Hargreaves helped mold Vilma, Morgan, Williams, Rocky McIntosh and Nate Webster into NFL linebackers. Seven of his linebackers at Miami were selected in the NFL Draft, including Morgan who won the Butkus Award, Nagurski Trophy and the Bednarik Award in 2000.
After an All-America career as a player at Connecticut, Hargreaves coached linebackers at his alma mater for 13 years. He ranks sixth in Huskies history with 393 career tackles.
The New Haven, Conn., native earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Connecticut in 1986. He is married to the former Jackie Bond and the two have three children; Carina, Vernon III and Chanelle.