Matt Nagy, who went 12-4 in his first season with the Bears, can add another honor to his growing trophy shelf: Pro Football Writers of America Coach of the Year.
Nagy was named the winner Thursday. Last month, an Associated Press panel declared he’d done the best job of any NFL coach. The NFL will name its top coach in Atlanta early next month, at the NFL Honors on the night before the Super Bowl.
One reason for Nagy’s success was the performance of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, whom the PFWA named Assistant Coach of the Year. Fangio, who coached the NFL’s best defense, left last week to become the head coach of the Broncos.
Nagy is the fifth different Bears coach to receive the honor. When the PFWA parsed coaching honors by conference, Jack Pardee was named NFC Coach of the Year in 1976 and Mike Ditka won the same award in both 1985 and 1988. Dick Jauron was the NFL Coach of the Year in 2001 and Lovie Smith in 2005.
Many thought the Bears were in line for a clean sweep of the non-player awards. Colts general manager Chris Ballard, however, was named Executive of the Year ahead of the Bears’ Ryan Pace. Ballard is a former Bears scout. Ballard hired first-year head coach Frank Reich, who might be Nagy’s top competition for the NFL award next month. Their Colts reached the second round of the AFC playoffs.