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Nagy’s leadership made him perfect candidate

Posted Jan 10, 2018

Seeking “the best leader for our franchise,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace found a head-coaching candidate who perfectly fit that description in Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy.

There were many qualities that Bears general manager Ryan Pace was seeking in a new head coach, but one was more important than any other.

"We set out to find the best leader for our franchise, period," Pace said. "We knew exactly what we were looking for in our head coach. This is about more than the quarterback. Yes, that's the most important position on our team. But this is about 53 players and it's about leading a group of men and it's about winning in all three phases."

Pace found the candidate that perfectly matched that description when he interviewed Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy over the weekend at a Kansas City hotel. One day later, the 39-year-old was named the 16th head coach in Bears history.

"We met with Matt Sunday morning in Kansas City and the longer we dug in the more we knew he was special and he was the right fit for us," Pace said.

Matt Nagy
Bears head coach Matt Nagy speaks to reporters Tuesday at Halas Hall.

Whether it was playing quarterback in the Arena Football League as he did from 2002-08 or coordinating the Chiefs offense, Nagy takes pride in the leadership that he exudes.

"As a leader of men, connecting with the players is I feel one of my strengths," Nagy said. "Everyone is different. They're all going to be different; how I connect to them, how my coaching staff connects to them. But if you treat them like good people and you let them know that you care for them, usually good things will happen on the field when you're coaching them."

A new chapter: In leaving Kansas City, Nagy is severing some long-time ties. He has spent all 10 of his NFL seasons working under head coach Andy Reid, first with the Eagles from 2008-12 and then with the Chiefs from 2013-17.

"I'm proud of Matt and the tireless amount of selfless work he put in to earn this opportunity," Reid said. "He has a creative football mind and feel for the game. I know he'll show up every day ready to lead his team with the right attitude and give Chicago everything he's got. I'm excited to see him begin his career as a head coach in this league, and I know he'll have great success with the Bears organization."

Nagy has known Chiefs general manager Brett Veach even longer; the two were college teammates at Delaware.

"I have known Matt for more than 20 years as a friend, teammate and colleague," Veach said. "I was with him when he started his journey in the NFL, and to see him climb the ranks and achieve his goal of becoming a head coach is outstanding. Matt is passionate and motivated, and as a former player he has a great feel for the locker room. Chicago is not only getting a great coach, they are getting a tremendous husband and father. I'm excited for Matt, Stacey and their boys. He'll be a great addition to the Chicago Bears organization and the community."

Creating a culture: Nagy didn't hesitate when asked during his introductory press conference what he wants fans to know he's bringing to the Bears.

"Passion and positive energy," Nagy said. "It's creating a culture. I just got chills saying it. I mean, it's real. So everybody in here just having that energy and that belief and that trust of what's going to happen on a daily basis.

"That all started for me with this organization in the interview process. I can't tell you how good that went and just feeling it from Mr. [George] McCaskey, Mr. [Ted] Phillips and from Ryan. It was powerful. So I take that, I come here and I start meeting everybody and you see where they're at, they're hungry and the fans are hungry. And I get that.

"That's why they selected me to come in here, is to help get that culture back to where it's just a prideful thing, where we go out there and each and every day and practice, at the games. Now it's talk, but we've got to make it happen. And fortunately for me, I was part of a program and an organization in Kansas City where we kind of came into that, that same type of deal in 2013 and I got to witness it under coach Reid on how you do that. I have my notes. I have my journal. And now I've got to put it to use."