GBW Interview: English Moves on to Chicago

Michigan defensive backs coach Ron English formally accepted Lovie Smith's invitation to join the Chicago Bears staff in that same capacity yesterday. Before departing for the Windy City, the popular position coach sat down with GoBlueWolverine to discuss his reasons for taking the job, his experience in Ann Arbor, and his relationship with Lloyd Carr.

Ron English's tenure in Ann Arbor officially came to an end yesterday when he signed on the dotted line to become a member of the Chicago Bears staff. In three years as Michigan's defensive backs coach he helped guide three players to All-Big Ten 2nd team honors (Jeremy LeSueur, Markus Curry, and Leon Hall) and two to All-Big Ten 1st team honors. Speculation persisted over the weekend that he may return to Ann Arbor to add to that tally, but a simple electronic transmission put that idea to rest.

"I just signed it and Fed-Ex'd it," English said to GoBlueWolverine Monday afternoon regarding his contract. "I really came to the decision to accept the position Friday morning. I go down (to Chicago) on Thursday night, and then I start work Friday."

English's services were in high demand this offseason, with three pro teams and at least two PAC 10 schools inquiring about his availability. However, it soon became clear that the NFL offered the best opportunity both professionally and financially.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers courted English vigorously, hoping that he would make it down to South Florida for an interview, but John Gruden's club did not make the final cut. That distinction belonged to NFC Norris division foes, Chicago and Detroit. The Lions had a legitimate shot at landing English thanks to his longstanding friendship with new headman (and his one of his former coaches at Cal) Rod Marinelli. That, however, was not enough to lure him into the Honolulu Blue & Silver. Once he weighed the idea of helping to rebuild a long-struggling Detroit franchise with a culture of losing against the prospect joining a playoff team with one of the NFL's top defenses, the pendulum swung firmly in Bears direction.

"All of them had been on me pretty good, but I just thought that Chicago was the best situation in the sense that all 22 of their starters are under contract," English explained. "I like that. I also like the fact that they're really young. The oldest player on the team is 34, and the oldest DB is Mike Brown, who's 30. All of the other guys are 24 to 28."

The Chicago Tribune revealed Saturday that the option of staying at Michigan to become the Wolverines co-defensive coordinator was also on the table. However, one of Smith's major selling points during the intense recruiting process was his promise that he would help English reach his goal of becoming a full coordinator.

"Lovie was really excited that I decided to come aboard," English said. "He said he thought that I could help them and that they're excited because I was the guy they wanted. He also talked about how his last coach, Perry Fewell, got a coordinators position after being under him for one year there, and I think one or two years in St. Louis. He just thought if I came there and did what he thought I should do, that I'd have an opportunity pretty soon. He said that he really wants to do that. He wants to help promote young guys into coordinator's positions."

With his days in Ann Arbor almost behind him, English has already started to reflect fondly upon his time coaching for one of college football's elite programs. "Michigan honestly was a lot better than I expected it to be in terms of coaching," he admitted. "This program is unbelievable in the sense that it doesn't get much better when you talk about the integrity of it, the kids that are here, and the opportunities to be successful. I had a wonderful experience here. Michigan has treated my family great and treated me great."

As a coach known for having a great relationship with his players, English will sure miss those young men that were in his charge. That said, the bond he may miss most it the one he had forged with his now former boss. "Lloyd has treated me well, and we really have had a fantastic relationship," English said. "It was as good as anyone on the staff if not better in my opinion. I love Lloyd and I have nothing but positive things to say about him. I wish him the best until the day he decides to hang it up. Lloyd is a great man. I really mean that. Lloyd Carr is a great man."

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