LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The Chicago Bears hired Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy as their new head coach Monday, hoping he can help a foundering NFL franchise emerge from one of the worst runs in its history.
The Bears announced the move a week after firing coach John Fox, who went 14-34 in three seasons for a .292 winning percentage that is the second-lowest in team history. The Bears were 5-11 this past season and haven’t finished above .500 since they let Lovie Smith go following a 10-6 finish in 2012, two years after their last visit to the playoffs.
The 39-year-old Nagy spent the past 10 seasons working under Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Kansas City. He did not call plays until late this season, but drew praise for his work with Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. In Chicago, the former quarterback at Delaware and then the Arena Football League will be trying to develop No. 2 overall draft pick Mitchell Trubisky.
The Chiefs won the AFC West, only to blow an 18-point halftime lead in a playoff loss to Tennessee on Saturday. The Bears met with Nagy on Sunday and wasted little time hiring him.
Chicago also interviewed Philadelphia quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, offensive coordinators Pat Shurmur (Minnesota) and Josh McDaniels (New England), Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards and Chicago defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
General manager Ryan Pace, who recently got a contract extension through the 2021 season, announced the decision and will have a lot riding on Nagy’s performance.
Pace has had some big hits in the draft such as star running back Jordan Howard (2016, fifth round) and notable misses such as oft-injured receiver Kevin White (2015, first round). Injuries have consistently exposed a lack of depth, and Pace’s record in free agency has so far been shaky in trying to replace talented players such as receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, tight end Martellus Bennett and kicker Robbie Gould.
Fox helped restore some of the professionalism that was missing under former GM Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman. But Fox’s conservative approach and some questionable decisions during games were sore spots.
The Bears were 3-15 against the NFC North under Fox and dropped all six division games this past season.