By Chris Emma–

(670 The Score) The Bears began their coaching search in house, interviewing defensive coordinator Vic Fangio for the vacancy Wednesday, the team officially announced.

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Fangio has never been an NFL head coach, an opportunity even the longtime assistant has admitted may have passed. He has worked the last three seasons as defensive coordinator for John Fox’s coaching staff, transforming the Bears from their darkest times on defense in 2014 to a unit that ranked ninth in scoring defense at 20 points per game and 10th in yards allowed at 319.1 per game in 2017.

The work of Fangio was especially impressive considering the Bears experienced several injuries at key position on defense this season, including losses of their top three edge rushers.

Bears general manager Ryan Pace conducted the interview with Fangio, who remains on staff after the firing of Fox on Monday. The team could lose Fangio if moves in a different direction with the coaching search. Fangio could find another opportunity as a coordinator in Green Bay, which parted ways with longtime coordinator Dom Capers.

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Players on the Bears defense have vouched for Fangio as a head coaching candidate.

“He’s a great coach,” veteran linebacker Lamarr Houston said. “He teaches you a lot about football. He’s very methodical in his teaching. He wants you to understand, and he holds you to a standard that you have to meet every Sunday. You can appreciate that as a player.

“Even though we didn’t have the best record, the defense did have a lot of good stats. That goes to show his worth as a coach.”

The Bears reportedly have requested to interview six outside candidates, with the list being comprised of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and defensive coordinator George Edwards, Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy and Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.

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