Colts Hire Pagano As Head Coach

The Indianapolis Colts announced Wednesday that they hired Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

Three days after losing in the AFC championship, the Ravens are now in need of a new defensive coordinator.

The Indianapolis Colts announced Wednesday that they hired Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano as their new head coach.

“It’s difficult to leave the Ravens but I couldn’t pass up on this great opportunity,” Pagano said. “I’m just thrilled and so excited.”

In his first and only season as the Ravens’ defensive coordinator, Pagano’s unit ranked third in the NFL in points allowed and average yards per game.

Besides that, he leaves a group of players with which he was beloved.

“Chuck, he’s the ultimate coach that you wanted to play for,” linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo said, saying Pagano was fun in meeting rooms and would play the iPhone game “Words With Friends” with him at night.

“On the field, you never wanted to let him down. It would be a selfish point of view to be sad. He’s going on to bigger things.”

After recording three sacks and three forced fumbles against the Colts on Dec. 12, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs joked with reporters.

“Chuck Pagano, if anybody is trying to hire a head coach, if they ask, I’m going to say he sucks,” Suggs said. “He’s terrible. He’s a terrible coach. His players don’t love him, and he doesn’t know what he’s doing when he’s calling a game.”

Pagano, 51, had been Baltimore’s secondary coach during the previous three seasons. It is his first head-coaching job of his career.

It was reported that Pagano had an interview with the Colts, who fired Jim Caldwell after a 2-14 season, on Tuesday.

Pagano flew back to Baltimore Wednesday and received a call from Colts Owner Jim Irsay offering him the position as soon as he got back. He accepted and immediately called his wife, dad, family and Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh.

Pagano is scheduled to fly to Indianapolis tomorrow and the team has an introductory press conference scheduled for 3 p.m.

“Congratulations to him,” linebacker Jameel McClain said. “The Colts organization got a great guy, a great coach. I think he’ll make an amazing head coach. Anybody would like to go to bat with a guy who will have your back.”

Two in-house candidates mentioned by pundits to replace Pagano are Linebackers Coach Dean Pees and Defensive Line Coach Clarence Brooks.

Pees joined Baltimore’s staff in 2010 after previously being the defensive coordinator in New England for four seasons. Brooks has been with Baltimore since 2005.

Whoever it is will be the Ravens’ fourth defensive coordinator in the past five seasons.

Pagano is the fourth Ravens defensive coordinator to take a head coaching job elsewhere, joining Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati), Mike Nolan (San Francisco) and Rex Ryan (New York Jets).

“We are so happy for Chuck, Tina and their daughters,” Harbaugh said. “We are proud of him. Like me, Chuck grew up in the game and loves it. We will miss him and thank him for all he did for the Ravens.”

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