By Chris Emma—
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) — Ultimately, the Bears tabbing Matt Nagy as the 16th head coach in franchise history would prove to be general manager Ryan Pace’s hire, as he was drawn to Nagy for many reasons.
But perhaps that wouldn’t have come to fruition if it wasn’t for a fast-paced search aided by Bears chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips, whom Pace credited for expediting the process that lasted one week after John Fox’s firing on Jan. 1.
With McCaskey and Phillips accompanying Pace on his interviews, the Bears were able to skip second interviews because the team’s top bosses could sign off on the spot. If not for that, the Colts — who also interviewed Nagy on Sunday — could’ve followed through and taken the candidate Pace believed best suited his team.
“Having George and Ted by my side was valuable,” Pace said. “Because it allowed us in that moment, when we did come to that conclusion (to hire Nagy to say), ‘Hey, let’s go.’”
The 40-year-old Pace and 39-year-old Nagy clicked over many details during their four-and-a-half-hour interview together, including their starts in the NFL working as interns, their common beliefs in quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and their optimism for what the Bears can be.
Pace was the man leading each of the Bears’ six interviews, which began with Vic Fangio in Chicago last Wednesday and wrapped up with Pace, Nagy and their wives enjoying dinner together in Kansas City on Sunday. In between, Pace and the Bears brass traveled to the bitter cold of Minneapolis and encountered the Bomb Cyclone snowstorm on the East Coast.
McCaskey and Phillips maintained last week that they would be “support resources” for Pace, but that it would be him leading the charge.
“Unbelievable sounding board for me, just to bounce things off each other,” Pace said of McCaskey and Phillips. “And we would conclude each interview and kind of talk about what we saw in each guy and kind of go through our different opinions.
“I led these interviews and then was just able to lean on them for different things and then different perspectives, too, which was valuable.”