Former Bears defensive coordinator, Cardinals coach Vince Tobin dies at 79

Tobin was the defensive coordinator under coach Mike Ditka from 1986 through ‘92.

SHARE Former Bears defensive coordinator, Cardinals coach Vince Tobin dies at 79
Chicago Bears Vince Tobin Steven McMichael

Tobin (left) coached stars like Steve McMichael (right) during his run with the Bears.

AP

Longtime NFL coach Vince Tobin, the Bears’ defensive coordinator under Mike Ditka from 1986 through 1992, died Monday at age 79.

Tobin replaced Buddy Ryan after the Bears won Super Bowl XX and led them to a top-10 defense in five of his seven seasons. His brother, Bill, was a longtime NFL executive and was the Bears’ general manager from 1987 through 1992.

Tobin coached Bears icons such as Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, Steve McMichael and Wilber Marshall. The team went 70-41 with him as defensive coordinator.

After Ditka got fired when the Bears went 5-11 in 1992, Tobin went on to become the Colts’ defensive coordinator and was the head coach of the Cardinals from 1996 through 2000. Once again, he followed Ryan, who was fired after two seasons.

He was the Lions’ defensive coordinator in 2001 and last worked in the NFL as a special assistant for the Packers in 2004.

Tobin went 28-43 in four-plus seasons with the Cardinals and helped them break their 51-year drought of not winning a playoff game when they upset the Cowboys in the 1998 postseason.

Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill praised Tobin for his ‘‘steady leadership’’ and role in drafting quarterback Jake Plummer and safety Pat Tillman.

‘‘More than that,’’ Bidwill said, ‘‘he was a consummate family man and always a class act who positively impacted everyone he encountered.’’

Plummer, the Cardinals’ starting quarterback for most of Tobin’s tenure, offered a tribute to his former coach on Twitter, thanking him for ‘‘the confidence he instilled [in] me.’’

Tobin grew up in northwest Missouri and played defensive back for the University of Missouri as a teammate of his older brother. The Tobin brothers were inducted together into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

Tobin joined the Tigers’ coaching staff as a graduate assistant and rose to defensive coordinator in 1971. Between various pro leagues and college, his coaching career spanned nearly 40 years, and he won two USFL titles as a defensive coordinator.

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