LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Fifty-seven-year-old Vic Fangio said Wednesday he still has interest in interviewing for head coaching jobs after spending a decade and a half coordinating NFL defenses.
“If the right opportunity and people were interested, yeah, I’d certainly listen,” Fangio said. “But like I’ve always said, these are their jobs and they [other teams] have their minds set on what they want. If I happened to fit that mold and what they’re looking for, that would be great.”
Hired by the Chicago Bears on Jan. 20, Fangio is largely responsible for the team’s turnaround on defense.
The Bears finished 2014 ranked 30th in total defense, 30th in passing defense and 31st in points allowed (27.6).
Under Fangio, Chicago is 12th in total defense, third in passing defense and 20th in points allowed (25.1) with one game left to play.
Keep in mind, Fangio’s best defensive player, linebacker Pernell McPhee, has been limited by a knee injury for almost two months.
“Coach Fangio is a leader,” Bears cornerback back Tracy Porter said. “You don’t lead a defense without having certain leadership qualities. He can command a room. The things I’ve seen from Coach Vic leads me to believe he would be a good head coach.”
While the league trend is to hire offensive-minded first-time head coaches, Todd Bowles in New York is a reminder that coaches with a defensive background can still be effective in the top job. The Jets improved from 4-12 to 10-5 under Bowles in 2015.
And keep in mind that Fangio’s success is not unique to Chicago. During his four seasons as San Francisco’s defensive coordinator, the 49ers were second in the NFL in points allowed, third in total defense and fourth in takeaways.
Fangio has coached a total of 28 years in the NFL, with additional stops in Baltimore, Houston, Indianapolis, Carolina and New Orleans.
That’s a wide network of contacts to choose from if Fangio is ever in position to assemble his own coaching staff.
“His knowledge of the game impresses me,” Porter said. “His belief in the guys that he brought in that he wanted on defense stands out. He really has the ability to break things down so the players understand.”