Broncos

The Broncos have their new head coach

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Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki — USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos have reached an agreement to hire Vic Fangio as their next head coach, BSN Denver can confirm, as first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Fangio, 60, was most recently the Bears' defensive coordinator. Under Fangio's leadership, Chicago became the NFL's best defense in the league in 2018, only allowing 17.7 points per game.

The first-time head coach becomes the organization's 17th head coach in franchise history, taking over after Vance Joseph was fired on Dec. 31 following an 11-21 tenure over the last two seasons.

Fangio's experience is nearly unmatched — holding five different defensive coordinating jobs in the NFL, to go along with one in college, on top of his 32 years of NFL experience.

He is widely regarded as one of the best and experienced defensive minds in the game.

Fangio's defenses have not only had a tremendous amount of success in his six different stops as defensive coordinator, but a staple of nearly all of them was their play-making abilities.

Just three years ago, in 2015, Fangio took over the Bears' defense, which was the second-worst scoring defense in the league when he inherited the unit, and he quickly elevated them to the best in the league.

Fangio began his coaching career in 1979 at his high school in Dunmore, Pennsylvania where he was the linebackers coach.

After making his way up through the ranks — with stops at a preparatory school in Connecticut, North Carolina and the United States Football League — Fangio entered the NFL in 1986 as the Saints linebacker coach.

In his nine seasons in New Orleans, he found unprecedented success creating and leading the linebacking corps known as "Dome Patrol." That group included four All-Pro linebackers who racked up 10 First-Team All-Pro awards and 18 trips to the Pro Bowl under Fangio's guidance.

In 1995, Fangio got his first shot as a defensive coordinator with the Carolina Panthers.

Over the next 11 seasons, Fangio was the defensive coordinator of the Panthers (1995-98), Colts (1999-2001) and Texans (2002-2005) before becoming the special assistant to the head coach with the Ravens in 2006. He then added linebackers coach to his title in 2009.

Fangio jumped back into the defensive coordinating role in 2010, taking over the Stanford Cardinals defense. During his lone season in college, Fangio took one of the worst defenses in the Pac-10 and made them the No. 1 scoring defense.

He quickly jumped back into the NFL, joining Jim Harbaugh’s staff in San Francisco as the 49ers’ defensive coordinator for four seasons before joining the Bears, where he was until Wednesday.

When Denver's coaching search began, John Elway revealed the four traits he was looking for in his next head coach.

Outside of the "it" factor — which was for Elway to determine — Fangio hit the rest out of the park.

Despite five different coordinating jobs, Fangio has never been given an opportunity to be the man until now.

The Broncos interviewed Fangio in Chicago Monday morning — the day after his Bears were eliminated from the playoffs after a botched last-second field goal — before changing the rest of their plans because of their interest in the then-defensive coordinator.

Instead of returning back to Denver, as was originally scheduled, Elway & Co. stayed in the Chicago area as Fangio went to the Bears headquarters to address his team and conduct exit interviews.

Then, he and Elway went to dinner alone before Elway and the interview committee returned home Monday night without Fangio.

On Tuesday, the decision was narrowed down to Fangio and Mike Munchak, the Steelers' offensive line coach, before eventually deciding to make Fangio their guy.

The Broncos also interviewed Chuck Pagano, Zac Taylor and Brian Flores.

Fangio's first job in Denver will be to select his coaching staff. The Broncos have not allowed their assistant coaches currently under contract to interview with other teams, instead wanting their next head coach, Fangio, to decide whether or not he wants to retain them.

Over the next few days and weeks, Fangio will put together his first-ever staff, before turning his sights on free agency, the offseason conditioning program and the draft.



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