Bears general manager Ryan Poles on Tuesday announced the hiring of Brent Salazar as the team's Clyde Emrich Director of High Performance.
Salazar will oversee the team's strength and conditioning and sport science departments and work with the athletic training staff with the goal of maximizing player health, safety and performance.
The position is named after Clyde Emrich, a pioneering strength coach who passed away last November after working for the Bears for 50 years.
Salazar arrives in Chicago with more than 10 years of strength and conditioning experience in the NFL with the Broncos, Chiefs and Vikings. He most recently spent the past two years at Kitman Labs as a performance strategist and was the director of performance at the United States Tennis Association from 2017-20. His duties at the USTA included oversight of the Player Development's Strength and Conditioning team and he was responsible for optimizing the support that the USTA provides to American players.
"We are excited to add this key hire to our football operations staff, a newly created position to oversee, align and continue to develop our strength and conditioning and sports science to optimize player performance," Poles said. "Players maximizing their potential in preparation, on the field, in recovery and rehabilitation is critical to their overall athletic performance and ultimately team success. To honor the late Clyde Emrich, a pioneer in this space, is very fitting for the director of high performance."
Prior to his role at the USTA, Salazar served as the head strength and conditioning coach with the Vikings in 2016. He came to Minnesota after having spent the previous nine seasons with the Chiefs as an assistant strength and conditioning coach from 2007-15. He also worked with the Broncos in 2015 as a strength and conditioning intern.
During his NFL career, Salazar has been a part of two division championship teams, Denver in 2005 and Kansas City in 2010. The 2005 Broncos went 13-3, finishing with the best record in the AFC, and won their first playoff game since winning Super Bowl XXXIII. The 2010 Chiefs rebounded from a 4-12 finish in 2009 to win 10 games and capture their first division title since 2003.
Prior to joining the Chiefs, Salazar served as the assistant director of athletic performance at the University of the Pacific in 2006. He was responsible for designing and implementing the training regimens for seven different varsity sports during his time with the Tigers.
Salazar also gained a wealth of knowledge as a performance coach at Velocity Sports Performance in 2006. He was instrumental in preparing college football players for the NFL Combine. He also worked with a wide variety of collegiate and professional athletes.
The Denver, Colo. native served as a graduate intern at UNLV in 2005. Salazar assisted the Rebels' strength and conditioning staff in their regimen with the football team. He was directly responsible for overseeing the training program for the men's tennis squad and men's soccer team.
Salazar originally started working in the NFL as an intern for the Broncos during the 2005 offseason. Prior to his first stint in the NFL, Salazar was a graduate intern at the University of New Mexico. He was responsible for training the baseball squad while also assisting with the football team.
Salazar was a member of the men's tennis team at New Mexico from 1998-03, earning All-Mountain West Conference honors after helping the Lobos earn a share of the MWC Championship in 2003. He earned his degree in exercise physiology and graduated in 2003. He is a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Salazar and his wife, Kendra, have three children, Ella, Ty and Vivian.