Mark Hatley, one of the NFL's most highly regarded personnel evaluators, passed away at his home in Green Bay, the Packers learned Tuesday morning. He was just 54 years old.
Known to all who knew him as "Hat," he is survived by his wife, Claudia, the couple's daughter, Eliza, her husband Jason Wilkerson, and two grandchildren.
Entering his fourth season as the Packers' vice president of football operations, Hatley headed up the team's college scouting and pro personnel departments, and logged substantial hours traveling the country to scout top college talent for the annual NFL Draft. Hatley contributed significantly to the Packers' efforts in winning consecutive NFC North championships (2002-03). And, since GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman hired him May 17, 2001, to complete a restructuring of the Green Bay front office following Ron Wolf's retirement, the Packers are 34-14. Only Philadelphia has compiled a better W-L record (35-13).
Hatley joined the Packers from the Bears, where he served as vice president of player personnel from 1997-2001. In Chicago, he drafted back-to-back Associated Press Rookies of the Year. Linebacker Brian Urlacher was the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2000 and running back Anthony Thomas was league Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2001. In fact, Hatley obtained all 22 starters on the 2001 Bears team that went 13-3 and captured the final NFC Central crown.
A 17-year veteran of talent evaluation, he first established his league-wide reputation during 10 years with the Kansas City Chiefs (1987-97). During that tenure, when the Chiefs made six playoff appearances, Hatley spent five seasons (1992-96) as director of pro personnel, four years (1988-91) as a scout and one season (1987) as linebackers coach.
After a standout playing career as a linebacker at Oklahoma State, Hatley broke into coaching. A member of the OSU staff from 1973-75, he also coached at Tulsa (1976), Texas Christian (1977-82) and Baylor (1983) at the collegiate level. In 1984, Bum Phillips brought Hatley to New Orleans as the Saints' scouting and quality control coach, before promoting him to secondary coach in 1985.
Born Sept. 19, 1949, in Borger, Texas, Hatley grew up in the Texas panhandle, where he enjoyed an outstanding athletic career at Phillips High School.
The team will provide further details regarding memorial services as they become available.