Mystery candidates

The Bears met with two candidates in their first week of searching for a new head coach. The second week of the process will begin Monday with Jim Fassel, but who else is being considered?

Jerry Angelo has arranged interviews with Baltimore defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel and San Francisco defensive coordinator Jim Mora, Jr., for the upcoming week. Fassel will meet with Angelo on Monday with the other two interviews to follow.

With Romeo Crennel and Lovie Smith already a part of the process that brings the total list of known candidates to five.

However Angelo said that his list is made of 6-8 candidates, meaning there is at least one other he's considering and there could be as many as three.

The team is also likely to look at some college coaches with LSU's Nick Saban, Maryland's Ralph Friedgen, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz and perhaps Oklahoma's Bob Stoops on their list. Saban, Friedgen and Ferentz all have experience in the NFL. Angelo is likely to contact those coaches through intermediaries and set up interviews only if they express interest. The meetings are likely to be conducted in complete secrecy if they take place in order to protect the coaches' ability to recruit.

Stoops and Saban are facing each other in the National Championship game Sunday. There is a good chance that both will stay at their perspective universities leaving Ferentz, who has NFL experience, and Friedgen.

Angelo stated that the offense is the obvious area that needs to be addressed, but that would not dictate his decision to seek a coach that calls his own plays. Fassel and Friedgen are the only two that would call their own plays if they wound up with the Bears while Nolan has worked as a defensive coordinator for four different teams, but also spent one year as a wide receivers coach which he says gives him a unique perspective on that side of the ball.

"History would tell you that the Super Bowl winners usually would have offensive backgrounds," Angelo said. ``But that's not to say that I'm not going to put that as No. 1 on the list. It's certainly important. I've done a lot of homework in studying the coaches and know the successful ones, obviously. Offensive coaches go a little bit better than defensive ones. But I would say as of late in these playoffs you're seeing the defensive coaches do a better job. I don't want to sound like a weather vane but its almost like that."


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