Chuck Pagano in 2017

Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports

Bears Hire Chuck Pagano As Defensive Coordinator

"He is a great teacher with an aggressive mentality," Matt Nagy says.

January 11, 2019 - 7:37 pm

(670 The Score) The Bears have hired former Colts coach Chuck Pagano as their defensive coordinator, they announced Friday night.

Pagano, 58, interviewed with the team earlier in the day and will replace Vic Fangio, who left to become the Denver Broncos' head coach after four seasons in Chicago.

"We are excited to add Chuck to our staff as defensive coordinator," coach Matt Nagy said in a 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."

Bears secondary coach Ed Donatell also interviewed for the job, the Tribune reported. He's out of contract now and a leading candidate to follow Fangio to Denver.

Under Fangio's guidance, the Bears had the NFL's top scoring defense this past season and wanted to keep continuity with a 3-4 scheme. Pagano has experience working with 3-4 defenses. 

A 16-year NFL coaching veteran, Pagano was the Colts' head coach from 2012-'17, compiling a 53-43 record and leading Indianapolis to three playoff appearances.

Prior to that, he had spent four season in Baltimore, the first three as the secondary coach and the final one as the defensive coordinator in 2011, when the Ravens finished third in the NFL in total defense, second in rushing defense, fourth in passing defense and third in sacks. Baltimore advanced to the AFC Championship Game that season.

The Ravens allowed the second-fewest points per game (16.3) and the second-fewest net yards (292.3) in the NFL during Pagano's four seasons there.

Before that, Pagano was North Carolina's defensive coordinator in 2007 and served as the secondary coach for the Raiders (2005-'06) and Browns (2001-'04). 

While leading the Colts in 2012, Pagano took a leave of absence three games into the season after being diagnosed with a curable form of leukemia. He returned in Week 17 of that season after overcoming his health issues.