On Tuesday, Chicago Bears General Manager Phil Emery announced multiple promotions and additions to the player personnel department. The most notable of the changes were the promotions of Marty Barrett to Director of College Scouting and Chris Ballard to Director of Pro Scouting. Some cynics will say, “What’s the change, these guys have been with the Bears for years?” Well, being that I worked with both of these men for 9 years I can tell you.
Both are very qualified and well thought of around the league. I hired Ballard from Texas A&M Kingsville in June 2001. He was the defensive coordinator at Kingsville at the time and was starting his first NFL scouting job. To say that Ballard learned quickly is an understatement. He, along with then-scout Phil Emery, became my two best scouts. Ballard has the natural instincts needed in scouting. He recognizes talent and knows how to sell that player in meetings. He has a strong work ethic and a strong passion for the game. On top of that, he was very good at developing relationships with the college coaches in his area. Those relationships are important for a scout to get information that not every scout gets when making school calls. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Ballard would soon become a Director and I’m sure he will be on short lists for potential GM’s in the near future. He has that kind of talent.
Barrett is a person I have known for years. Like me, he is a native of Buffalo, New York, and was a star quarterback at the University of Buffalo. I scouted Marty when I was an area scout for National Scouting in 1984. He had a tryout with the Buffalo Bills and then got into coaching. His last stop was as the recruiting coordinator at Rutgers before he was hired by the New Orleans Saints as an area scout. Marty was with the Saints for a few years before joining the Bears as their west coast scout. When I came to Chicago in 2001 Marty was already an established scout and did an excellent job covering the west coast for us. I can honestly say that there weren’t too many players Marty was wrong on. His reports were very detailed and his character evaluations were spot on. Marty is one of the most organized scouts I know and he will bring that trait as well as strong leadership skills with him as the College Director.
What makes these promotions special to me is I have seen both grow as scouts over the last 11 years and there is not a doubt in my mind they will do an outstanding job for the Bears. They are very experienced, well trained and ready for this opportunity to run a department. Scouts seldom get much publicity, but I can say that the Bears staff is one of the strongest if not the strongest scouting staffs in the league. Guys like Jeff Shiver, Rex Hogan, Mark Sadowski, Ted Monago and Kevin Turks are very good at what they do. With Ballard and Barrett leading them, they will become even better.