Bears hire Vic Fangio as D-coordinator

The Chicago Bears have named Vic Fangio the team's defensive coordinator.

The Chicago Bears have named Vic Fangio as the team's defensive coordinator.

Fangio spent the last four seasons as defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers.

In San Francisco, Fangio's defenses finished in the top 10 in all the four major defensive categories - total defense, run defense, pass defense, points allowed - in each season. Additionally, Fangio's units finished 4th in the NFL in total turnovers all four years.

Fangio interviewed with the Bears and the Washington Redskins last week. He chose to come to Chicago.

In other coaching news, the following coaches from the former regime have been released: defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, linebackers coach Reggie Herring, tight ends coach Andy Bischoff and special teams assistant Dwayne Stukes.

Secondary coach John Hoke has not been released and could be retained, as he worked with Fangio in Houston from 2002-2005.

Here is the official press release on the Fangio hire:

LAKE FOREST, IL – The Chicago Bears have reached an agreement with Vic Fangio to become the team’s defensive coordinator.

Fangio has 36 years of coaching experience, including 28 in the NFL and 15 as an NFL defensive coordinator. He spent the previous four seasons as defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. During his four seasons overseeing San Francisco’s defense, the 49ers were second in the NFL in scoring defense (17.4 points per game), third in total defense (310.2 yards per game) and fourth in takeaways (122). The 49ers had the top run defense (92.0 ypg) and allowed the second-lowest yards per carry (3.78). Their pass defense was sixth in the NFL during that time (218.2 ypg) while allowing the second-lowest opponent passer rating (76.8). The 49ers defense also led the NFL in fewest first downs allowed (1,143) and were tied for sixth in 20+ yard plays allowed (33).

The 49ers defense ranked in the top five in total defense in each of Fangio’s four seasons with the team (fourth in 2011, third in 2012, fifth in 2013 and 2014) and in the top 10 in scoring defense all four seasons (second in 2011 and 2012, third in 2013 and tenth in 2014). The 49ers are one of only three teams in the NFL to have at least 25 takeaways in each of the last four seasons, along with the New England Patriots and New York Giants.

Under Fangio’s tutelage, five players from the 49ers defense were named first-team All-Pro’s by the Associated Press: LB NaVorro Bowman (2011-13), S Dashon Goldson (2012), LB Aldon Smith (2012), DT Justin Smith (2011) and LB Patrick Willis (2011-12). In addition, LB Ahmad Brooks (2012-13), CB Carlos Rogers (2011) and Justin Smith (DE in 2011 and DT in 2012-13) were named second-team All-Pro’s by the AP. Justin Smith was the first player in NFL history to be named first-team All-Pro at one defensive position and second-team All-Pro at another defensive position in the same season.

Nine players from San Francisco’s defense were named to the Pro Bowl under Fangio’s tutelage: Bowman (2011-13 seasons), Brooks (2013), Goldson (2011-12), Aldon Smith (2011-12), Justin Smith (2011-13), Rogers (2011), S Eric Reid (2013), S Donte Whitner (2011-12) and Willis (2011-13).

In 2010, Fangio was the defensive coordinator at Stanford. Stanford finished the year ranked 10th in scoring defense (17.4 points/game), 11th in sacks (36), 16th in passing defensive efficiency (112.79), 19th in rushing defense (120.8 yards/game), tied-for-19th in interceptions (18) and 21st in total defense (322.8 yards/game). He was named college football’s Defensive Coordinator of the Year by Footballscoop.com and other media outlets. Stanford posted three Pac-10 shutouts on the year; marking the first time the Cardinal had held opponents scoreless in three contests in a single season.

Fangio was a special assistant to the head coach with the Baltimore Ravens from 2006-09, adding the title of linebackers coach in 2009. From 2006-09, the Ravens led the NFL in scoring defense (17.0 ppg) and opponent passer rating (70.6), were second in total defense (281.8 ypg) and tied for second in takeaways (129). They were also second in the league in rushing defense (82.4 ypg) including tops in yards per carry allowed (3.27), sixth in passing defense (199.4 ypg) and eighth in sacks (158).

Prior to joining Baltimore, Fangio spent four seasons (2002-05) as the defensive coordinator of the Houston Texans. Houston had eight interception return touchdowns and four fumble return touchdowns during that time. The Texans 22 interceptions in 2004, still stands as a team record.

Fangio also served as an NFL defensive coordinator with the Indianapolis Colts (1999-2001) and Carolina Panthers (1995-98). The Panthers ranked 10th in the NFL in scoring defense (19.8) and opponent passer rating (74.4) and sixth in takeaways (130) during Fangio’s time with the team, despite the club being an expansion franchise. In 1996, the Panthers won the NFC West and reached the NFC Championship game in just their second year of existence, as Carolina’s defense topped the NFL in sacks (60, a franchise record that still stands today) and finished second in the league in scoring defense (13.6 ppg) and seventh in opponent passer rating (68.7).

Fangio came to Carolina from New Orleans where he spent nine seasons as the linebackers coach of the Saints (1986-94). Fangio coached the heralded “Dome Patrol,” which included All-Pro linebackers Rickey Jackson, Vaughan Johnson, Sam Mills and Pat Swilling. The group was the only linebacking unit from one team voted to the Pro Bowl on the first ballot (1992) and was later voted the best linebacking corps in league history by NFL Network. Fangio and the linebackers helped the Saints to four postseason appearances, including their first-ever playoff appearance (1987) and first-ever division title (1991).

Fangio came to the NFL after two seasons as a defensive assistant of the USFL’s Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars (1984-85), winning back-to-back league championships with the team. He served as a graduate assistant at North Carolina in 1983 after serving as the defensive coordinator at Milford (Conn.) Academy in 1982.

He got his coaching start in 1979 at his alma mater, Dunmore (Pa.) High School, serving as a linebackers coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 1980.

Fangio, who attended East Stroudsburg University, was inducted into the Northeast Pennsylvania Hall of Fame in 1993. He has a son, Christian, and a daughter, Cassie.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.

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