Bears coach Matt Nagy: ‘Bittersweet to move on’ after losing Vic Fangio
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Vic Fangio was getting ready to leave Halas Hall on Wednesday, off to start the head coaching job for which he’d waited his entire career, when he asked Bears chairman George McCaskey if he should wear his “gray business suit” to Thursday’s press conference.
It was a joke: Fangio’s attire of choice over his four years as defensive coordinator had been a gray Bears crewneck sweatshirt and matching sweatpants.
McCaskey had a better suggestion: he gave Fangio a bright orange tie.
When he was introduced as the Broncos’ head coach Thursday, Fangio wore a navy jacket, khaki pants, white shirt — and McCaskey’s tie.
Time will tell whether Fangio brings anything else with him from the Bears, be it an assistant coach or the magic of a season in which the Bears posted, by most measures, the best defense in the NFL.
That showing earned Fangio, 60, a title that seemed unlikely after 32 years in the NFL: head coach.
“I don’t want to use the word ‘dream,’” Fangio told reporters at his introductory press conference in Denver. “It’s obviously something I’ve thought about throughout my career at various times, but I was comfortable enough in my own skin that it didn’t have to happen.”
He compared it to the first time he was promoted from a position coach to coordinator.
“Now, all of the sudden, you get the responsibility and the position and it’s like, ‘OK, you wanted it, you got it, you better succeed,’” said Fangio, who will call plays for the Broncos. “So, those are my first feelings: ‘I’ve got it, let’s go prove it.’”
Fangio thanked McCaskey and his mom Virginia for “running an honorable and first-class organization,” and Matt Nagy for doing a “tremendous job” in his first year as head coach. He even invoked of Nagy’s favorite phrases — “Be obsessed” — when talking about what it takes to build a team.
“The Bears are lucky to have him,” Fangio told reporters.
As for his defense, Fangio smirked when asked what Khalil Mack said by calling him an “Evil Genius,” saying he took those “conflicting words” as a compliment.
“It’s a special group, a group that I thoroughly enjoyed coaching and will miss coaching,” Fangio said.
The Bears said Thursday they were proud of him.
“It is bittersweet to move on,” Nagy said in a statement. “He has more than earned this opportunity, and I could not be happier for him. …
“There are only 32 of these jobs in the world, and I know what it means to him to get his chance in Denver.”
General manager Ryan Pace, in his own statement, credited Fangio for restoring a once-proud unit.
“Vic was a key leader in bringing great defense back to Chicago,” Pace said. “We will continue to build upon the foundation he helped establish.”