Barry Odom announced that Vernon Hargreaves will join the Mizzou Football coaching staff as inside linebackers coach. Hargreaves has 33 years of collegiate coaching experience, including 26 as linebackers coach. He spent the last three seasons as linebackers coach (2015-17) at Arkansas.
“I’ve known Vernon for a number of years and have always respected the way his position plays the game,” said Odom. “He will be a great teacher and mentor for our student-athletes. His experience will be so valuable for our program; I’m excited about Vernon and his family joining our Mizzou family,” he said.
“I worked with Brian at Houston, and Barry was the defensive coordinator at Memphis when we were there, and he did a great job at Memphis, that’s where our relationship started,” said Hargreaves. “Having the opportunity to work with him and the defenses that he’s been associated with is very exciting, and then of course the familiarity I have with Brian, and then also Brick Haley, who I’ve known over the years is important to me. I’ll tell you this too, Ryan Walters is a superstar, he’s going to be a big-time college football coach. To be around all of those guys, hopefully to help and to learn and continue to build that defense, it will be a great experience. They’ve got a lot of young guys who I believe are going to be really good players, and I’m looking forward to being part of it all,” he said.
The Mizzou athletic department released the following information on Hargreaves.
During his three seasons at Arkansas, Hargreaves coached several award winners, including sophomore MLB De’Jon Harris, who was named second-team All-SEC by the Associated Press in 2017 after he finished second in the league with 115 tackles, a year after he earned SEC All-Freshman team honors. In his first two years at Arkansas, Hargreaves mentored Brooks Ellis into one of Arkansas’ top producers on and off the field. Ellis, the team leader in tackles in 2015 and 2016, closed out his career with 290 tackles, was a four-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member and became the first Arkansas football student-athlete to earn Academic All-America honors twice. Ellis was also named the 2016 SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year and was honored as one of 12 finalists for the 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy, also known as the “Academic Heisman.”
Prior to Arkansas, Hargreaves spent two seasons at Houston where he coached linebackers. In 2014, he helped the Cougars finish 8-5, including a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Pittsburgh in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. The Cougars ranked second in the American Conference and 11th nationally with 30 forced turnovers and were 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.
Hargreaves served as special teams coordinator and defensive ends coach at South Florida from 2010-12. 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.
Hargreaves, 55, finished his playing career at Connecticut in 1983 where he was a two-time All-American. He earned all-conference honors twice during his career and was selected a team captain as a senior. His 393 career tackles still ranks sixth all-time in school history. Hargreaves was named a member of UConn’s 100th anniversary team. The New Haven, Conn., native earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Connecticut in 1986.
He and his wife, Jackie, have three children: Carina, Vernon III and Chanelle. Vernon III played cornerback at Florida from 2013-15 and was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the 11th pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.