Vic Fangio reflects on 49ers' decision to bypass him for coaching job

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he doesn’t harbor any resentment towards the San Francisco 49ers for bypassing him in filling their head-coaching vacancy in January.

“That’s their decision and their choice. I have nothing to do with that,” Fangio said as the Bears prepare to host the 49ers on Sunday.

A 36-year coaching veteran, Fangio served as San Francisco’s defensive coordinator from 2011-14. The 49ers ranked in the top five in total defense in each of Fangio’s four seasons, and were one of only three teams to have at least 25 takeaways in that span.

“I just look back on the four years with the 49ers with really good memories,” Fangio said. “We had a nice run there. Got to a Super Bowl. Got to three championship games. Won a lot of football games over a four-year period.”

San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke chose defensive line coach Jim Tomsula over Fangio (and current Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase) to replace Jim Harbaugh, who departed for the University of Michigan.

“I’ve just always accepted it’s their decision, their team. They do what they want with it,” Fangio said.

Fangio quickly found work. Upon leaving the 49ers, the veteran coordinator resurfaced in Chicago, where new Bears head coach John Fox hired him to install the 3-4 defense.

So far the results are encouraging. One of the NFL’s worst defenses the past two years, the Bears rank 14th in overall defense (343.1 yards per game) and second in passing defense (214.5).

Anchored by their improved defense, the Bears have won three of their past four games.

Linebacker Lamarr Houston credits Fangio for the turnaround.

“Coach Fangio takes his time and explains what every position is supposed to do,” Houston said. “He’s getting the young guys ready to play and ready to play well. Sometimes young guys get out there and have stars in their eyes, but not with this coaching staff.”

Fangio added: “It's been a really good group to work with. They've been really coachable. They are trying extremely hard from a mental standpoint from the meetings and trying to take things from the meetings to the field, learn, been very coachable. So from that standpoint it's been very enjoyable.”