Chargers Defensive Backs Coach Ron Milus added a fourth-consecutive Pro Bowl performer to his stable in 2016 when cornerback Casey Hayward led the NFL and set a career high with seven interceptions.
Hayward went on to become the first Chargers defender to capture the NFL’s interceptions crown outright since 2007. With Hayward leading the way, the Chargers led the NFL with 18 picks and the team recorded at least one takeaway in 15 of 16 games. The Chargers had 11 different players record at least one interception in 2016, most in the NFL by any one team and the most by a Chargers squad since 2004.
Prior to Hayward, former safety Eric Weddle earned Pro Bowl invitations in both 2013 and ’14 and cornerback Jason Verrett earned all-star honors in 2015. During Milus’ first season with the Chargers in 2013, the defense recorded 10 interceptions in their last nine games of the season, playoffs included, after intercepting just four in the season’s first nine games. And in 2014, the Chargers ranked fourth in the NFL in pass defense. In 2015, Verrett led the team in interceptions and passes defensed.
A native of Tacoma, Wash., Milus was a cornerback and return specialist at the University of Washington in the mid-1980s. He moved into coaching in 1988, starting at Tacoma’s Lincoln High School. That led to a graduate assistant’s position at Washington and then ultimately a seven-year stint as the Huskies’ defensive backs coach. Washington made two Rose Bowl appearances during Milus’ tenure and led the nation with 22 interceptions in 1993.
Milus moved on to the NFL in 2000, joining the Denver Broncos as defensive backs coach. In his first season, the secondary racked up 21 interceptions, its highest total since 1987. A year later in 2001, cornerback Deltha O’Neal made the Pro Bowl after tying for third in the NFL with nine interceptions. Milus spent three seasons in Denver before splitting time between Arizona, the New York Giants, St. Louis and Carolina. He returned to Denver for a second stint in 2011.
In 2012, the Broncos led the NFL in fewest yards allowed per pass play. They ranked second in total defense and third in pass defense en route to winning the AFC West with a 13-3 record and earning the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Cornerback Chris Harris returned two of his three interceptions for touchdowns and veteran corner Champ Bailey was selected to the Pro Bowl for the 12th time in his career.
Milus and wife, Sandra, have two sons – Ryan and Bobby.