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1985 Bears Coverage: Lieutenants help McCaskey

Every day of the 2015 Chicago Bears season, Chicago Sun-Times Sports will revisit its coverage 30 years ago during the 1985 Bears’ run to a Super Bowl title.

Lieutenants help McCaskey

Kevin Lamb

Originally published Sept. 8, 1985

Bears president Michael McCaskey relies heavily on the advice of his three top department heads. On draft day, for example, he heads a committee of four that makes decisions based on the input of specialists in coaching, scouting and negotiating.

McCaskey’s three first lieutenants:

JERRY VAINISI: General manager. Negotiates contracts and oversees all Bear operations except scouting and coaching. Has been with Bears since 1972, serving as controller, treasurer and in-house counsel before George Halas promoted him to GM Aug. 24, 1983, when Jim Finks resigned. Accouting and legal background makes him better suited than more experienced GMs to new demands of the job. Graduate of Georgetown University, Chicago Kent College of Law. Chicago native. Lives in Arlington Heights with wife, five children.

BILL TOBIN: Director of player personnel. Oversees scouting of college and pro players. Goes on road, mostly as cross-checker, in addition to supervising three regional scouts. Most famous discovery

was Pro Bowl DE Richard Dent in eighth round 1983. When Bears acquire veteran through trade, waivers or free agency, coach identifies needed position, Tobin identifies best player available at that position.

Hired by Finks for Bears in 1975, promoted to personnel director 1984. Lives in Arlington Heights with wife, three children.

MIKE DITKA: Head coach. Directs all on-field activities, from instruction to strategy. Supervises coaching and support (film, training, equipment) staff on field. Has record of 22-21, plus 1-1 in playoffs, in three Bear seasons. Hired by Halas in 1981 after nine years as Dallas assistant coach in charge of special teams, receivers. First-round Bear pick in 1961, played on 1963 championship team, made five Pro Bowls 1962-66, traded to Philadelphia in 1967 after expressing contract dissatisfaction. Played in Dallas 1969-72. Lives in Grayslake with wife, has four children.