Bears hire Chuck Pagano as defensive coordinator to replace Vic Fangio


Sam Rich | TNS

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano watches the end of a 22-13 win against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017.

By Brad Biggs and Colleen Kane, Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO – The Bears needed just two days to find their replacement after defensive coordinator Vic Fangio left to coach the Broncos.

Coach Matt Nagy announced Friday night he hired former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano to step into the team’s top defensive role.

Pagano has 16 years of NFL coaching experience, most recently as the Colts coach from 2012-17.



Pagano, 58, was the Ravens defensive coordinator in 2011, when they went 12-4 and ranked third in total defense, third in points allowed, second against the run, fourth against the pass and third in sacks.

Before that he served as defensive backs coach for the Ravens, Raiders and Browns.

The Bears also interviewed Bears secondary coach Ed Donatell for the position.

“We are excited to add Chuck to our staff as defensive coordinator,” Nagy said in a team statement. “He has successful experience at many different levels in this league, and he is a great teacher with an aggressive mentality that fits our style of football. He is a man of high character and has a passion for the game that will no doubt add to the culture we have already started building at Halas Hall.”

The Bears put an emphasis on finding a replacement with a background in 3-4 defensive schemes to take over the NFL’s No. 1 scoring defense. With Pagano’s experience in 3-4 defenses, there should be some continuity. He worked with Fangio with the Ravens in 2008-09.

Pagano, who also interviewed with the Panthers, went 53-43 in the regular season and 3-3 in the playoffs during his six seasons in Indianapolis. The Colts won AFC South titles in 2013 and 2014 and made three straight playoff appearances from 2012-14.

After two straight .500 seasons and then a 4-12 season in 2017, the Colts fired him and turned to Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich.

Pagano sat out this season, and the Browns and Cardinals were reported to have interest in him as a defensive coordinator.