By Chris Emma–

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) — On the day they fired John Fox and embarked on a new coaching search, the Bears made another big move with their future in mind.

The Bears on Monday gave general manager Ryan Pace a two-year contract extension. His deal now runs through the 2021 season after he initially signed a five-year deal in January 2015. Team president Ted Phillips made the announcement at an afternoon press conference, hours after Pace had informed Fox he was fired.

Phillips approached Pace about the extension on Monday, believing it was important to create continuity between Pace and the Bears’ next head coach.

“Any head coach, you got to have that relationship with the general manager A) to even want to come into the organization, and to know the organization is behind the general manager is critical,” Phillips said. “I approached Ryan, because I thought it was important.”

The Bears are just 14-34 with no playoff appearances in Pace’s three seasons leading the football operations department. Chicago was 5-11 this season.

Despite the failures through three seasons, Phillips stated that he still has a strong belief in the leadership and plan of Pace, who took the blame for what has occurred to this point.

“I need to point the finger at myself as well,” Pace said of the Bears’ struggles.

Pace confirmed he will have the final decision-making power in hiring a new coach after working collaboratively with chairman George McCaskey and Phillips, who plan to serve as “support resources,” as Phillips explained.

While McCaskey and Phillips will be there for Pace, they stated he’s in charge of their organization’s future.

“He has grown so much,” Phillips said. “He’s not afraid to take risks in player personnel – my opinion. It’s a business where you don’t get a 90-percent success rate. If you’re getting a 60-, 65-percent success rate, I think most general managers would be considered successful. So you’ve got to take risks. You can’t be afraid to fail. So I would say that’s one area where I’m really proud of his growth.​”

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670 The Score 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.