GM Ryan Pace values coaches in mold of Sean Payton

SHARE GM Ryan Pace values coaches in mold of Sean Payton

Bears GM Ryan Pace meets the media on Friday. (Michael Schmidt/Sun-Times Media)

Ryan Pace has a list and a schedule. But the Bears’ new general manager wasn’t going to reveal his cards when it came to his first coaching search in his second day on the job.

‘‘It’s just the best man for the job,’’ Pace said during his introductory news conference Friday at Halas Hall.

But Pace saw one man handle the job at a Super Bowl-winning level during his tenure with the New Orleans Saints.

‘‘I’m influenced by [Saints coach] Sean Payton a little bit because I saw what he brought,’’ Pace said. ‘‘Sean came from [legendary coach Bill] Parcells, so discipline was important right off the bat.

‘‘Sean has a charisma, a confidence and an energy to him that’s infectious. I think that’s important. When a head coach gets in front of the room, he’s selling his plan to the players and there needs to be buy-in. Sean Payton has that, and we’ll be looking for some of those qualities.’’

Pace said hiring the Bears’ next coach will be ‘‘a group effort,’’ with chairman George McCaskey, president Ted Phillips and consultant Ernie Accorsi having input. But the final say will belong to him.

‘‘Ryan’s going to take the lead, and he’ll make the decision,’’ McCaskey said.

‘‘At the end of the day, if Ryan is sold on a certain candidate, we’re going with it,’’ Phillips said.

One concern about Pace, 37, is that he doesn’t have much interviewing experience. He interviewed and hired Saints staff members, but nothing can compare with the magnitude of hiring a coach.

‘‘I’ve never hired or identified a head coach, so it’s all new for me,’’ said Pace, who took part in the Bears’ meeting Thursday with Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. ‘‘And that’s why I’m glad these guys are in the room with me. That’s why I’m glad Ernie Accorsi is there. I mean, he’s a Hall of Fame general manager I can lean on. That’s a resource. That was my first experience, but I felt good about it.’’

The Bears updated Pace about their interviews with Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn from last week and have requested permission to speak with Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.

Pace said he will run the coaching search with urgency, but he won’t put a deadline on it or limit it by experience, college or professional level or the side of the football.

‘‘We have coaching candidates, [a] broad spectrum,’’ Pace said.

That said, the Bears’ history isn’t lost on Pace.

‘‘The weather here — I’m experiencing it right now — it can be brutal,’’ Pace said. ‘‘To win in that environment, you’ve got to be able to run the ball [and] you’ve got to be able to play tough defense. When you think about the Chicago Bears’ identity over the years, it’s tough, physical defense. And we’re going to get back to that.’’


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