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7 things to know about Coach Nagy


On Tuesday, Matt Nagy will be introduced as the 16th head coach Chicago Bears history. The former offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs has served as an NFL coach for 10 seasons, but there's a lot more to Nagy than just what he's done on the sidelines.

Here are seven facts about the new head coach of the Bears that you may not know:

1) He comes from a coaching family
Matt Nagy is not the first football coach in his own family to find success. His father Bill was a high coach at Elizabeth High School in New Jersey for 10 seasons. In 1980, Bill Nagy led the Minutemen to a state championship. His son was just a toddler at the time, so Matt watched from the stands at Giants Stadium. Aside from Matt, there was another future NFL coach on the field that day – Todd Bowles, the current head coach of the New York Jets was a star player for Elizabeth during that championship run.

2) His name is in the record books
By the time Matt was ready to attend college, he had already deployed his skills as a quarterback, but he was never given the opportunity to play Division-I football. Instead he enrolled at the University of Delaware, where he proved to be a standout player. Nagy set more than 20 passing records as a Blue Hen, including the school record for passing yards (8,214) and touchdowns (58). A few of his marks have since been erased, including career passing attempts and completions. Both records are now held by current Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

3) He was a successful QB in the AFL
Following his college career, which ended with an All-American season as a senior, Nagy wanted to go pro. He went undrafted in the NFL 2001, but didn't give up on his dream. Nagy tried out for the Green Bay Packers that fall, though he was not offered a contract. Instead he played six seasons in the Arena Football League, throwing for more than 18,000 yards as a member of the New York Dragons, Carolina Cobras, Georgia Force and Columbus Destroyers between 2002 and 2008. He twice led his team to the Arena Bowl.

In 2009, Nagy again came close to earning his chance to play in the NFL. He had begun working a coaching internship for Philadelphia Eagles training camp when the team's backup quarterback, Kevin Kolb, suffered a sprained MCL in practice. The Eagles signed Nagy as a player to replace Kolb, but the NFL disapproved the deal because Nagy had already agreed to work as a coaching intern for the team and was still under contract in the AFL. However, it all worked out in the long run, as Nagy was eventually hired full-time to Andy Reid's coaching staff in Philadelphia.

4) He almost left coaching entirely
In the spring of 2010, after serving as an intern for two summers at Eagles training camp, Nagy found himself at a career crossroads. The Arena League had filed for bankruptcy. Nagy had coached high school football like his father and was still hoping to become an NFL coach, but none of those routes paid the bills. Matt and his wife Stacey, who had been a couple since they were in high school, had four children under the age of six and Matt found a job in real estate to support his family.

As many teams do in the offseason, the Eagles did some re-organizing of their staff that year. Brett Veach, a fellow Delaware alum who had worked as an offensive assistant under Reid, was promoted to the team's personnel department as a scout. Veach's departure from Reid's staff created an opening. Though it meant a cut in salary and an increase in working hours, both Matt and Stacey knew it was the perfect role. Veach recommended Nagy for the job, and he didn't have to do a lot of convincing. Nagy accepted, and spent the next eight seasons working alongside Reid in both Philadelphia and Kansas City.

5) He has a strong track record with quarterbacks
Nagy played and coached the position for a long time, so it's no surprise his primary area of expertise is quarterbacks. With the Chiefs, both as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, he developed and prepared Alex Smith to become one of the league's top players at the position. Smith has completed more than 65 percent of his passes since teaming up with Nagy in 2013, while throwing 102 touchdowns and just 33 interceptions in those five seasons. Much of the Chiefs offense focused around the team's tight ends and running backs, but was made effective by the efficiency at the quarterback position.

In Mitchell Trubisky, Nagy has a new project to develop. The Chicago quarterback flashed potential in his rookie season, and now the new head coach will be responsible for turning Trubisky into one of the NFL's premier signal callers.

6) He is yet another branch on the Reid coaching tree
When the 32 NFL head coaches take their annual photo this spring at the league's owners meetings, it will look a lot like a reunion. Nagy is now the sixth current head coach to have been an assistant under Reid. The good news for Bears fans is that the track record for those previous disciples is strong. Buffalo's Sean McDermott, Carolina's Ron Rivera and Philadelphia's Doug Pederson all joined Reid in the NFL playoffs this season, while Baltimore's John Harbaugh came close (and he has a Super Bowl ring on his resume already) and Bowles is a candidate for NFL Coach of the Year for the job he did this season with the Jets.

7) He's not afraid to think outside the box
Though Nagy learned under Reid, don't expect him to be an exact replica of his mentor. Reid has always run a traditional West Coast offense, and Nagy has taken that and evolved it some more, creating new looks and formations to give his team an advantage. "He puts his own flair in it – I think that's important to know," Reid told the Kansas City Star last December when Nagy began calling plays for the Chiefs. The new Chicago head coach will even utilize some concepts created in the college ranks, such as Run-Pass Options, which will put even more responsibility on Trubisky. The Chiefs averaged nearly 29 points per game in the regular season in the five contests Nagy was the team's offensive play caller.

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