Cut from Ditka's cloth?

Third in a series on new Bears assistant coaches<p> The Bears have had a good past with coaches from Aliquippa, Pa. who later were at Pitt. So from that end, they have to feel good about Bob Babich. Their linebackers coach was born in the hometown of Da Coach, Mike Ditka, and he coached for three seasons at the same college where Ditka had played. <p>

Babich compiled Ditka-like numbers while a head coach at North Dakota State from 1997-2002, as his teams went 46-22 with five winning seasons, two Division II playoff appearances and a national semifinal berth in 2000.

It was with the Rams last year as linebackers coach that Babich renewed a friendship he had with new Bears coach Lovie Smith. The two played together at Tulsa and were assistants there from 1984-86.

"Everything I know about the NFL those two guys taught me," Babich said. "Coach Martz has been very successful because he is very organized -- extremely organized -- and very intelligent. He demands that his players do the little things just like coach Smith is demanding here. "Coach Smith taught me everything about this defensive scheme with the Rams, all the little things I need to know to grow as a coach within the scheme."

Like Smith, Babich traces much of his football roots back to former Ohio State coach John Cooper, who coached both of them at Tulsa.

"All I can say about John Cooper is he cares about people he surrounds himself with. Lovie thinks an awful lot of coach Cooper, as I do," Babich said. "Some things we do in practice are things from coach Cooper.

"After I was done playing at University of Tulsa, I think I realized how football was very important to me and coach Cooper was a key factor in that decision."

Babich's resume also includes time spent under Johnny Majors at Pitt from 1994-96.

He as tight ends, offensive line and defensive backs coach at Tulsa, linebackers coach at Pitt, offensive line and tight ends coach at Wisconsin in 1988-89, linebackers coach at Bowling Green in 1991 and East Carolina 1992-93.

Babich calls new Bears guard Ruben Brown "the best player I had a chance to be around as a college coach." Babich didn't directly coach Brown, but was on the staff when Brown was at Pitt."

He also lists former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Tom Tumulty, a former player for him at Pitt, and Rams running back Lamar Gordon, who played for him at North Dakota State, as other top players he's had the chance to work with closely in the past. Babich left behind another player he liked being around two years ago when he left small school head coaching success at North Dakota State for the NFL. His son, Bobby, is a cornerback at that school.

"It wasn't a hard decision at all," Babich said. "This is the best football in the world and you're competing against the best teams and coaches in the world."

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