The following is the 10th of 12 stories featuring Bears coordinators and position coaches.
After serving as assistant defensive line coach with the Bears in 2014, Clint Hurtt returns as outside linebackers coach, a new position necessitated by the team's switch to a 3-4 defense.
Hurtt joined the Bears last year after spending the previous nine seasons as a defensive line coach in college at Florida International (2005), Miami (2006-09) and Louisville (2010-13).
Hurtt was a three-year letterman as a defensive lineman at Miami, where he roomed with future NFL stars Reggie Wayne and Ed Reed. Hurtt described Wayne as "mature beyond his years" and credited the future Colts receiver with helping instill a strong work ethic in him.
Hurtt played extensively as a true freshman in 1997 before redshirting in 1998 to recover from an injury. He returned to action in 1999, but suffered an injury before the 2001 season that ended his playing career.
"I was an explosive guy and with the knee injury my explosiveness and change-of-direction started to really go," Hurtt said. "I started realizing going into my junior year that I wasn't doing the same things physically and my confidence was kind of down."
Hurtt, who had seven surgeries on his right knee during college, was encouraged to think about becoming a coach by Miami assistants Randy Shannon, Larry Coker and Chuck Pagano.
With his playing career over, Hurtt spent his senior year at Miami working with interior defensive linemen, most notably a promising young prospect named Vince Wilfork.
"I would do things on the practice field with him and help him out in meetings," Hurtt said. "When you get a guy who's a great player, it makes you feel pretty good."
Hurtt remained with the Hurricanes, working with many of his former teammates as a graduate assistant.
"I had fun with it in my early years of coaching because I could live the game through them," Hurtt said. "My enjoyment was to see those guys be successful, get drafted and play in [the NFL]. That's what I enjoy most; seeing guys be successful and knowing I had a part in it."
Hurtt enjoyed working with college athletes both on and off the field.
"The most rewarding part in college football is helping guys develop as young people and learning from their mistakes because as young guys they are going to screw up," Hurtt said.
"Also making them see the bigger picture in life - to graduate and have a positive influence in society, knowing that they can be better fathers than some of the situations that some of those young guys came from. That's something that I always cherished about college football that was special."
Entering his second year as a Bears assistant and first under John Fox, Hurtt is excited about being part of the new staff.
"When you're a coach, you always want to improve yourself," Hurtt said. "Being around guys like coach Fox, coach [Vic] Fangio and coach Ed Donatell - experienced coaches that have been super successful throughout their careers - and being able to pick their brains, it helps you become a better coach.
"You take advantage of that because if you stay the same you're not getting any better. So just having that experience and the quality of coaches around here and the energy level is what has been so impressive with the new regime coming in."