LAKE FOREST, IL – The Chicago Bears have reached an agreement with Ryan Pace today to become the team’s sixth general manager in franchise history.
Pace joins the Bears after spending 14 seasons (2001-14) as a member of the Saints organization, including 13 in the player personnel department. He spent his last two seasons with the franchise as director of player personnel. In that role, Pace helped manage the team’s college and pro scouting operations including all facets of scouting and evaluation of college and pro prospects along with New Orleans’ roster.
Pace also spent six seasons as the club’s director of pro scouting (2007-12), which included overseeing the club’s pro scouting staff. His duties also involved recommending player acquisitions by evaluating the Saints roster and potential NFL free agents, monitoring all NFL transactions, researching possible trade opportunities, assessing player talent from other professional leagues and directing the advance scouting of future opponents. He also helped the Saints prepare for the NFL Draft following the regular season by assisting in the evaluation of top college prospects.
The Flower Mound, Texas native got his start in New Orleans’ player personnel department as a scouting assistant in 2002, a role he held for two years before working as a pro scout from 2004-06. During that time he evaluated free agents and collegiate players entering the NFL Draft as well as scouted upcoming opponents. He joined the Saints in 2001 supporting the coordination of all game day, training camp and stadium operations.
Over Pace’s 13 seasons in the New Orleans personnel department (2002-14), the Saints compiled a 115-93 (.553) record. Since 2006, the Saints reached the playoffs five times, won three division titles, played in two NFC Championship games (2006 and 2009) and won the franchise’s first Super Bowl title (Super Bowl XLIV). The Saints pro scouting department helped build a Super Bowl championship club by using all avenues at their disposal: signing free agents QB Drew Brees, FB Heath Evans, LB Scott Fujita, CB Randall Gay, C Jonathan Goodwin, CB Jabari Greer and DE Anthony Hargrove and trading for LB Jonathan Vilma and TE Jeremy Shockey. Pace has also worked to acquire players such as RB Darren Sproles, G Ben Grubbs, NT Brodrick Bunkley, LBs David Hawthorne and Curtis Lofton, while also acquiring S Rafael Bush off waivers. Over the past two seasons the Saints draft classes have included current regular starters LT Terron Armstead (2013, third round), WRs Brandin Cooks (2014, first round) and Kenny Stills (2013, fifth round) and S Kenny Vaccaro (2013, first round).
In 2008, he was selected by the club to attend the NFL’s Stanford Business School’s Executive Education Program for Managers. He was a part of the franchise in 2005 while the club dealt with immense adversity having to guide itself through several moves in base operations in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Pace played collegiately as a defensive end at Eastern Illinois (1995-99), serving as team captain as a senior, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.
Pace and his wife, Stephanie, have a daughter, Cardyn.
The Bears will hold a press conference on Friday, January 9 at 11:00 am CT.