Of the five assistants the Bears officially named to Matt Nagy’s first coaching staff Friday, only two needed directions to Halas Hall.
Two days after hiring former Bears offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, Nagy again dipped into the Lovie Smith era when he named Chris Tabor, an assistant special-teams coach from 2008 to ’10, as his special-teams coordinator. The Dave Toub disciple had run the Browns’ special teams since 2011.
Running backs coach Charles London was the Bears’ offensive quality-control coach in 2007 and an offensive assistant/assistant receivers coach the next two years. After two seasons at Penn State, London followed coach Bill O’Brien to the Texans, where he was running backs coach the last three seasons.
Vic Fangio, of course, has more recent experience with the Bears. He served as the defensive coordinator the last three years before getting a new contract that will make him among the highest-paid assistants in the league.
Two Bears coaches are making their NFL coaching debuts: offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich and receivers coach Mike Furrey.
Before playing receiver for the Rams, Lions and Browns from 2003 to ’09 (he was on injured reserve for all of 2010 with the Redskins), Furrey was a teammate of Nagy’s on the New York Dragons of the Arena Football League in 2002.
After his NFL playing career ended, Furrey was Kentucky Christian’s head coach from 2011 to ’12 and Marshall’s receivers coach from 2013 to ’15. To take the Bears job, he resigned from his job as head coach of Division II Limestone College in Gaffney, South Carolina, where he went 9-12 in two seasons.
Helfrich is the most recognizable name of the bunch, having gone 37-16 as Oregon’s head coach from 2013 to ’16. In 2014, he led the Ducks to a victory in the Rose Bowl and a loss in the national championship. Quarterback Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy that year. Helfrich was Chip Kelly’s offensive coordinator in the four previous years and spent last season as a Fox Sports analyst.
Nagy is living up to his declaration to assemble a staff of coaches with different backgrounds.
“What you don’t want is a staff full of the same people,” he said. “You want to have people that teach in different ways. There might be some yellers and screamers, and there might be some guys that you know teach in a nicer way, I’ll say it that way.
“So having a staff full of quality people that have high character and yet are great coaches, you can find those. So let’s fill a whole staff with that.”
NOTE: John Dunn, the Bears’ quality-control coach in 2016 and offensive assistant last year, was named the offensive coordinator at Connecticut.
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