The Bears hired Brent Salazar as first high performance director Clyde Emrich — a new position created under first-year general manager Ryan Poles to oversee the team’s strength and conditioning and sports science departments. The position is named after legendary Bears strength coach Clyde Emrich, who died at age 90 in November.
Salazar, a former New Mexico varsity conference tennis player, has 11 seasons of NFL experience — most recently as the Vikings’ strength and conditioning coach in 2016. Prior to that, he spent nine seasons with the Chiefs as an assistant strength and conditioning coach. Poles served on the Chiefs staff from 2009-22, when he was hired as the Bears’ general manager.
After leaving the Vikings, Salazar served as director of performance at the United States Tennis Association from 2017-2020 and served as performance strategist at Kitman Labs — a sports performance research/analytics team — the past two years.
“We are delighted to add this key recruit to our Football Operations staff, a newly created position to oversee, align and continue to develop our strength and conditioning and sport science to optimize player performance,” said Poles in a statement released by the Bears. “Players maximizing their potential in preparation, on the field, recovery and rehabilitation are essential to their overall athletic performance and ultimately to the success of the team. Honoring the late Clyde Emrich, a pioneer in this field, is made appropriate for the High Performance Director.
The high performance director is the second new position the Bears have added since hiring Poles to replace Ryan Pace as general manager. Previously, they hired Ian Cunningham as assistant general manager.