Broncos Tab Bears' Vic Fangio As New Head Coach

Fangio, 60, will be an NFL head coach for the first time.

Chris Emma
January 09, 2019 - 11:08 am
Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio

Dennis Wierzbicki/USA Today Sports

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(670 The Score) Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who played a leading role in the revival of Chicago's identity over four seasons, will be the next head coach of the Denver Broncos, according to reports late Wednesday morning.

Fangio interviewed with the Broncos on Monday and was offered the job by Broncos president of football operations John Elway. Fangio, 60, now becomes an NFL head coach for the first time. Fangio agreed to a four-year deal with a fifth-year option, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported. Former Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak is expected to move from his role in the front office to become Fangio's offensive coordinator.

Since arriving with John Fox's coaching staff in 2015, Fangio directed the turnaround of the Bears defense that ranked 31st in points allowed per game in 2014 (27.6) to first in 2018 (17.7). Chicago also led the NFL in takeaways with 36 in the regular season.

A career defensive assistant of 32 NFL seasons, Fangio was lauded and respected by his players, who were thrilled to see him get the chance for a head coaching interview.

"You want what’s best for people," Bears safety Adrian Amos said Monday as Fangio interviewed with the Broncos. "If he wants to be a head coach one day, I want him to take a job and be a head coach. Everybody just wishes him well."

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks echoed those thoughts.

"I love playing for that guy," Hicks said. "I got a lot of respect for him, and so does the entire defense. I don't even want to think about the possibility of him ever leaving, so I'm going to pretend nothing is going on."

After news broke, Bears receiver Allen Robinson shared his thoughts on Twitter.

A year after coach Matt Nagy made the important move to retain Fangio, he now must find the replacement as defensive coordinator. Bears defensive backs coach Ed Donatell is a natural candidate to take over given his four seasons working under Fangio in Chicago and three previous stops as defensive coordinator. 

Former Jets coach Todd Bowles, a longtime friend of Nagy's, could also be in play as a candidate. He agreed in principle to become the Buccaneers' new defensive coordinator on a staff with Bruce Arians, under whom he served in Arizona. However, Bowles has not signed a contract yet and was not officially announced to the job in Tampa, meaning he still could accept the role in Chicago.

"I have so much respect for him," Nagy said of Bowles in October. "What he does defensively, but on top of that, too, I think he’s such a great human being. He does things the right way. He treats people the right way. I like how he does things."

Despite the experience and accolades, Fangio had hardly been considered as a head coach prior to January. When the 49ers fired Jim Harbaugh in 2014, they passed on their defensive coordinator in Fangio without even an interview and instead hired his defensive line coach, Jim Tomsula, who was fired after one season. That led to Fangio's arrival in Chicago.

Fangio takes over as the Broncos' head coach after Vance Joseph was fired after compiling a 11-21 record in two seasons. He inherits a Denver defense that finished 13th in scoring at 21.8 points per game last season. The group is led by Pro Bowl pass rusher Von Miller.

The Bears and Broncos are scheduled to play next season in Denver.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​​