Five years after being passed over for Jim Tomsula, former 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has finally landed an NFL head coaching job.
Fangio, who spent the last four seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears, will be named the head coach of the Denver Broncos, according to multiple reports Wednesday. He was chosen over fellow finalist Mike Munchak, the offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and will replace Vance Joseph following a 6-10 season.
Fangio has presided over top-10 defenses in six of the last eight years, has 32 years of NFL experience and is widely regarded as one of the league’s top defensive coaches. Broncos executive John Elway hired Fangio to lead a talented defense led by pass rushers Von Miller, a three-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler, and Bradley Chubb, who logged 12 sacks as a rookie after being drafted fifth overall in 2018.
Fangio specializes in his work with outside linebackers and pass rushers. He helped Chicago star Khalil Mack adapt quickly to his defensive scheme after being acquired in a trade from the Raiders just prior to last season. The Bears finished with the league’s top-ranked scoring defense, but were eliminated from the playoffs with a 16-15 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round.
Fangio signed a four-year contract, according to an ESPN report. The 49ers aren’t expected to play the Broncos during the regular season until 2022 after playing them in December (a 20-14 victory), though they could play in the preseason as the Broncos are a regular exhibition opponent.
San Francisco ranked fourth, third, fifth and fifth in total defense when Fangio was the defensive coordinator from 2011-14 while on head coach Jim Harbaugh’s staff. The defense, loaded with talented players in the primes of their careers, helped carry the 49ers to three consecutive NFC title games and an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII to cap the 2012-13 season.
Fangio was considered for San Francisco’s head coach opening after parting with Harbaugh following an 8-8 finish to 2014 and missing the playoffs. But CEO Jed York instead went with Tomsula, who was fired after one season with a 5-11 record.