By Chris Emma-
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — It all happened so fast, but the Bears were just as quick. Denver made a mutual parting with head coach John Fox last Monday, and Chicago was ready to act.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Snow Causing Dangerous Driving Conditions Monday Morning
Ryan Pace, who had been the Bears’ general manager for just a few days, was prepared to make a push for the veteran head coach of 13 years, and he got the job done. Chicago’s brain trust of chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips was pleased with Pace’s efforts.
“Ryan was terrific,” McCaskey said Monday after Fox’s introductory press conference. “He led us in the process, he was very open to questions and ideas from Ernie (Accorsi) as a consultant, but it was Ryan’s show, and he was very decisive in determining that John was the guy we wanted to go after.”
Make no mistake: Pace was the man in charge of landing Fox.
The process started with Pace quickly calling Fox as soon as word leaked that the Broncos would part ways.
Early last week, the Bears scheduled an interview with Fox — the only one he would conduct — and he was in town Wednesday, with Pace leading the questioning. Fox flew back to Denver after the interview, and Pace was on a flight the following day, ready to lock down the deal.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Flight Cancellations, Delays At O'Hare, Midway Airports
Pace and his wife, Stephanie, spent Thursday with Fox and his wife, Robin, for a more informal interview. On Friday morning, the contract was signed.
“He took the reins, he was the leader throughout the process,” Phillips said of Pace. “He was thoughtful and very decisive.”
Pace, 37, had his coach hired just eight days into the job, reacting to an unexpected curveball. The man entrusted to lead the Bears’ football operation has received glowing praise after a strong start to his tenure.
Phillips referred to Pace as a “rising star” in the football business. Now, he has a respected head coach in place.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Phillips said. “I think they’re going to have a great relationship between GM and head coach.”MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Warming Centers Open Ahead Of Tuesday Temperature Drop
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.