The Chicago Bears found their man on Thursday.
After firing general manager Phil Emery last Monday, it took 10 days for the Bears to replace him with Ryan Pace. Pace, 37, becomes the youngest general manager in the NFL currently.
Pace comes over after 14 seasons working for the New Orleans Saints. He served the past 13 years as a member of the player personnel department starting as an operations assistant in 2001 and marketing intern previously. He was the pro scouting director from 2007 to 2012.
In 2013, Pace was promoted to director of player of personnel where he managed all levels of scouting and evaluation of collegiate and professional prospects.
Safety Kenny Vaccaro and wide receiver Brandin Cooks were the first-round picks the Saints selected the past two seasons with Pace having a say in the process.
Pace interviewed along with Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard on Wednesday, while Texans director of pro personnel Brian Gaine and Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson were at Halas Hall on Tuesday for respective interviews.
Pace turned down an interview with the New York Jets on Monday and last year the Saints blocked the Miami Dolphins from interviewing him for their general manager opening. Pace was still under contract with the Saints and clearly the New Orleans brass thought highly of him.
The Bears made the right choice by picking a bright and young guy to start fresh with. Ballard was said to be a favorite of consultant Ernie Accorsi, but George McCaskey and Ted Phillips were smart to hire someone who had no past ties to the organization.
The immediate reaction on Twitter after the hire by the Bears was very positive.
Mickey Loomis, executive vice president and general manager of the Saints had this to say:
“We wish to congratulate the Chicago Bears on the hiring of Ryan Pace as their General Manager. He has been a key contributor in developing our roster throughout the past years.”
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports:
Ryan Pace is a fantastic hire by the Bears. He’s been ready for years but always wanted to wait for his dream spot. Great move
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) January 8, 2015
Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune:
My sense is Ryan Pace would only leave #Saints for right opportunity. Club would need to have stable situation with quality ownership.
— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) January 6, 2015
In Pace’s time in New Orleans with the personnel department, the Saints went 115-93. Since the 2006 campaign, where New Orleans fell to the Bears in the NFC Championship, they reached the playoffs five times. They captured three NFC South division titles, appeared in two NFC Championship games and won the first Super Bowl in franchise history in 2009.
Pace played defensive end at Eastern Illinois from 1995-1999. The 1999 season was spent with current Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo on the team. Also, a fun fact that Bears fans will like to hear is that the Saints went 3-0 at home against Green Bay with Pace being a part of the organization.
The Bears will introduce Pace at Halas Hall on Friday with an 11 a.m. CT press conference.
Head coaching connections
Pace was with New Orleans when former Syracuse University and Bills head coach Doug Marrone was the offensive coordinator (2006-08).
Current offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael interviewed for the Bears head coaching job two years ago. So there’s another New Orleans connection.
Lastly, Pace sat in on the interview with Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles on Thursday just hours after being hired. Seattle’s Dan Quinn and Denver’s Adam Gase are the only other coaches who previously interviewed with the Bears for the current head coach opening.
Lovie/Trestman/McCown Trio Isn’t Happening
In other NFL news on Thursday, the Tampa Bay Bucs announced the hiring of offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.
Marc Trestman interviewed with Tampa Bay and Jacksonville this past week, but a reunion with Josh McCown isn’t going to happen now. Good luck to the former “quarterback guru.”
Thoughts on the Bears hiring Ryan Pace to become the new general manager?
Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button to get all the latest Bears Backer articles sent to your inbox.