Babich Officially Promoted to DC

After announcing on Monday that Ron Rivera would not be back next season as defensive coordinator, head coach Lovie Smith didn't wait very long to announce his replacement. Linebackers coach Bob Babich, who first worked with Smith way back in 1984 at the University of Tulsa, was promoted on Tuesday and will take over.

Per the Bears:

The Chicago Bears promoted fourth-year assistant coach Bob Babich to be the team's defensive coordinator today. Babich initially came to Chicago as the team's linebackers coach when he was hired on January 17, 2004 and was promoted to assistant head coach/linebackers on January 26, 2006.

Under Babich's guidance, the Bears linebacker corps has been arguably the most productive in the NFL. Starting MLB Brian Urlacher, the 2005 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and starting WLB Lance Briggs each made the Pro Bowl following the last two seasons, the first time Chicago has had two Pro Bowl linebackers in consecutive seasons since doing so for three years from 1985-87. Either Urlacher or Briggs has led the Bears in tackles in each of Babich's three seasons with the team, Briggs in 2004 (168) and Urlacher in 2005 (171) and in 2006 (185). Briggs was also the team runner-up in tackles each of the last two years. Starting SLB Hunter Hillenmeyer has also developed into a steady performer under Babich's direction, averaging over 76 tackles during his three years as a member of the team's starting lineup.

Throughout his time with Chicago, Babich has held the responsibility of signaling the defensive play-calls to the players on the field from the sideline. During that time, the Bears have led the NFL in percentage of points off turnovers, total defensive takeaways, third-down defense, and opponent quarterback rating while ranking second in the league in defensive red-zone touchdown ratio, defensive touchdowns, and interceptions. Chicago also ranked fourth in the NFL in total opponent fumbles recovered from 2004-06.

The first coach to join head coach Lovie Smith's staff in Chicago, Babich came to the Bears from the St. Louis Rams where he was the linebackers coach while Smith was their defensive coordinator. Babich first worked with Smith in the collegiate ranks at Tulsa (1984-86) where Smith oversaw the linebackers while Babich worked with tight ends and assisted with the offensive line.

Prior to joining the Rams, Babich spent six seasons as head coach at North Dakota State University (1997-2002). In his first head coaching job, Babich amassed a 46-22 career mark by posting five winning seasons with two NCAA Division II playoff appearances. The Bison were 9-2 in the regular season in his first year in 1997 and 12-1 in 2000, reaching the national semifinals before losing to the eventual national champion.

A native of Aliquippa, PA, Babich served 12 seasons as an assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level at five different schools.

For all the analysis on what this important coaching change could mean for the vaunted Bears defense in the upcoming 2007 season, Click Here.


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