The day a new Chicago Bears coach is introduced can be one of the most thrilling for fans.
As the search to find the next coach of the Bears begins, here’s a look back at when each of the team’s previous 16 coaches were introduced by team management.
Years coaching the Bears: 1920-29; 1933-42; 1946-55; 1958-67
Record: 318-148-31 (.682)
What the Tribune wrote: “George Halas, one of the best all around athletes ever developed at the University of Illinois and last season given a trial with the New York Yankees, has signed to play with the Staley team of the Industrial league.” — Chicago Tribune, March 23, 1920
“George Halas, former Illinois star and for two years coach of the Staley football eleven and one of the leading Staley players, will not return to the local plant this coming season, but will engage in business in Chicago.” — Chicago Tribune, Jan. 19, 1922
“Pro football players and their followers are preparing for a big season. With the opening of the collegiate and prep grid seasons, elevens that play on the prairies and those that are more fortunate in securing inclosed grounds already have settled down to the task of reorganizing and drilling their squads.
“Chicago, as last year, will be represented by two big teams in the major pro football circuit.
“The Chicago Bears, which will be the name of the team that is made up for the greater part of the Decatur Staleys of last fall, will perform at Cub park, while on the south side Chris O’Brien will again have his Cardinal eleven of last year in the field and games will be played at Sox park.
“Joe Sternaman and George Halas are the organizers and backers of the Bear eleven. Halas has announced that in addition to several of the old Staley gang, Laurie Walquist, Illinois; Larson and Garvey, former Notre Dame men, and Lafleur of Marquette have been signed. Of the Staleys there are Halas, Trafton, Stinchcomb, Scott, Lanum, Pod Pearce, Smith, Blacklock, and Bolan will be back. Halas will act as coach.” — Chicago Tribune, Sept. 20, 1922
Introduced as Bears coach: Dec. 27, 1929
Years coaching the Bears: 1930-32
Record: 24-10-7 (.706)
What team management said: “We believe our hope for development of a winning team would be increased if we could turn the squad over to a professional coach. Neither Ed (Sternaman) nor I had time to coach the Bears. Last season, the worst since we entered professional football with the old Staleys, the coaching responsibility was divided between us and Ralph Scott. As a result our offense was ragged and by midseason the team had lost its morale.” — George Halas
What the Tribune wrote: “Ralph Jones, coach of the Lake Forest academy football team the last 10 years, yesterday signed to coach the Chicago Bears next fall at a reported salary of $12,000.
“Jones will have full charge of the team, while George Halas and Ed Sternaman, owners of the club, will devote their attention to the business office.
“During ten seasons at Lake Forest, his teams won 82 and lost 8 contests, averaging 30 points to four by opponents. Unable to get hard enough competition in the prep ranks, Jones’ teams went out of their class, meeting freshman elevens of Dartmouth, Yale, Princeton, Notre Dame, Marquette, Loyola and others, and won most of the games.” — Chicago Tribune, Dec. 28, 1929
Heartley ‘Hunk’ Anderson/Luke Johnsos (co-coaches)
Introduced as Bears coach: Oct. 30, 1942
Years coaching the Bears: 1942-45
Record: 23-11-2 (.676)
What team management said: “I definitely will not have a hand in the running of the Bears. I am completely out until the war’s over. I’m sure that Hunk, Luke, and Paddy will do a good job.” — George Halas
What the Tribune wrote: “George Halas yesterday turned over the responsibilities, worries, and the pleasure that goes with having a championship eleven to his three assistants, all steeped in professional football experience. Tonight Liet. Comm. Halas will leave for Norman, Okla., to take up his naval aviation duties.
“To Luke Johnsos and Heartly (Hunk) Anderson, he willed the running of the team on the field, designating the pair as co-coaches. To Paddy Driscoll, another long time associate, he assigned many of the off the field duties, in addition to his regular post as back field coach.” — Edward Prell
John ‘Paddy’ Driscoll
Introduced as Bears coach: Feb. 2, 1956
Years coaching the Bears: 1956-57
Record: 14-9-1 (.609)
What team management said: “I have great confidence in Driscoll’s ability to keep the Bears in the title running. I know of no one who has made a greater contribution to football.” — George Halas
What the coach said: “I will be working with a solid staff. Luke Johnsos, Clark Shaughnessy, Phil Handler, Sid Luckman, and Bulldog Turner — the group can not be bettered. I feel we can continue to give the Bear fans a winning team.” — Paddy Driscoll
What the Tribune wrote: “Paddy has lived football tho he also excelled in other sports. No man has combined more completely individual talent and knowledge of gridiron tactics. Moreover, Driscoll has the respect and admiration of all those with whom he played and coached.
“In the field of personal relations, Driscoll has been equally outstanding as a member of the Bears’ staff. He contributed to the Bears’ successes as a player and added tremendously to their prestige by his accurate judgment as a coach.
“No man has been associated longer with Halas, owner and founder of the Bears, and Halas unquestionably considered Driscoll’s loyalty and friendship, as well as his ability, when he gave him the highest honor he had to bestow.
“Driscoll will carry on the Bears tradition. His selection as head coach was enthusiastically approved yesterday by the men with whom he worked under Halas’ direction. The staff will be intact when the Bears start their 1956 campaign hopeful of winning a championship denied by the margin of half a game last season.” — Wilfrid Smith
Introduced as Bears coach: May 28, 1968
Years coaching the Bears: 1968-71
Record: 20-36 (.357)
What team management said: “Gentlemen, it is a pleasure to present the new head coach of the Bears, Mr. Jim Dooley.”
“Good luck, kid.” — George Halas
What the coach said: “It will be a difficult job to follow a genius.” — Jim Dooley
What the Tribune wrote: “Even before he was added to the Bear coaching staff, Dooley impressed Halas with his football mind and inventiveness. It was Dooley who suggested that the Bears ‘update’ their pass defense along the lines of the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants.
“Under Dooley’s design, the Bears came up with their now-famous ‘buzz’ and ‘rub’ defense in which the movements of the linebackers were coordinated with those of the defensive backs.
“His system was gradually installed in 1962, Clark Shaughnessy’s last year at the Bears defensive helm, and later was used successfully before the latter departed to the Los Angeles Rams.
“Dooley, who coached the Bears receivers from 1962 thru 1964, was switched over to the defense in 1966 when Allen left. His best-known of many innovations was the so-called Dooley Shift in which a back is substituted for a linebacker on long-yardage downs.” — Cooper Rollow
Introduced as Bears coach: Jan. 27, 1972
Years coaching the Bears: 1972-74
Record: 11-30-1 (.268)
What team management said: Gibron was George Halas’s first choice from a list of 30 candidates. “There is no change in the setup. But Abe will be an organizer. He’ll be a leader. There’s no doubt about that.” — George Halas
What the coach said: “I think we can make a run for the championship this year with the personnel we have. When I speak of changes, I am talking about simplifying the system, of getting down to football basics.
“We want 11 dedicated men on the field. We want to play physical football. We are going to come at you all the time. There’s going to be nobody going around bum-rapping the coaching staff or the organization.
I’m not going to change my image. I may say ‘sir’ once in awhile when I cuss out an official, but I can’t change my personality. And if I happen to see one of the players during the off-season and want to buy him a beer, I’m going to buy him one. These are people we have out there playing for us, not a bunch of robots.” — Abe Gibron
What the Tribune wrote: “After seven years of waiting in the wings, a portly gentleman stepped into the spotlight in center stage yesterday and the Abe Gibron Show was on the way.
“As widely predicted, Gibron, the 46-year-old jowled jester of Jim Dooley’s staff, was named to succeed Dooley as head coach of the Chicago Bears. Dooley was fired late last month after the 1971 Bears lost their last five games, and his staff was dismissed last week.
“The first thing Gibron did after being introduced to a packed press conference was to proclaim himself ‘a Halas man and a Bear man, but not a yes man. I am the boss. This is going to be the Abe Gibron show.’
“And the first thing owner George Halas did after Gibron finished speaking was to make it clear that Gibron’s status with the organization is no different than that of Dooley except that ‘Abe may be more forceful than Jim was.’” — Cooper Rollow
Introduced as Bears coach: Jan. 3, 1975
Years coaching the Bears: 1975-77
Record: 20-22 (.476)
What team management said: “Now I hope that he doesn’t beat my record, but if he just ties it, that’s all right.” — George Halas
What the coach said: “Good ball players move the ball down field. Formations and shifts don’t move the ball an inch.” — Jack Pardee
What the Tribune wrote: “With sweat dripping from his face under the heat of the camera lights, Jack Pardee adroitly fielded questions for a half hour Friday morning and revealed almost nothing.” — Don Pierson
Introduced as Bears coach: Feb. 17, 1978
Years coaching the Bears: 1978-81
Record: 30-34 (.469)
What team management said: “I’m not saying you have to be an assistant in the National Football League to be a successful head coach. But who in the hell ever heard of Chuck Knox when he was an assistant at Detroit? Who ever heard of George Allen when he was with the Bears, except the people in Chicago?” — Jim Finks
What the coach said: “I have never applied for a coaching job in my life. I guess any assistant has aspirations, but I didn’t sit around and wait for the phone to ring.” — Neill Armstrong
What the Tribune wrote: “Displaying a button with the motto, ‘Whatever it takes,’ Neill Armstrong holds his first press conference as Chicago’s head coach Friday and predicts the Bears will ‘absolutely’ wrest the NFC title from his old team, the Minnesota Vikings. Armstrong, 51, was the defensive coordinator there the last seven seasons. His departure is another case of key Viking personnel rejoining Jim Finks, the general manager who left Minnesota to take over the Bears in 1974.” Read more.
Introduced as Bears coach: Jan. 20, 1982
Years coaching the Bears: 1982-1992
Record: 106-62 (.631)
What team management said: “I like his ability to handle himself and handle other people. And I know he’ll do a good job getting people to play according to his desires.” — George Halas
What the coach said: “I believe that everyone has a destiny in life, and mine is with the Chicago Bears. I’m going to give Chicago a winning football team, an interesting football team and a football team that everybody is going to be proud of.” — Mike Ditka
What the Tribune wrote: “The 42-year-old head coach was nothing if not a master portrait of confidence. His litany echoed that confidence and can be summed up in one pronouncement: ‘We’re going to give ‘em a winning football team.’
“All of Ditka’s immediate predecessors had offered a similar chant at their anointings, but none delivered it with much conviction. Ditka said it in a manner that made believers of us all. He spoke as a shepherd firmly but gently defying anyone to doubt that he is the ideal man for a challenging appointment.
“Halas, too, reflected an attitude that almost guaranteed the promised land is to be reached. Though he did not seek to intrude on the attention being given a disciple who is less than half his age, Father Halas occasionally offered some random gospel, as when he assured a radio interviewer:
“’For some time I have been working out a game plan designed to bring a winning football team back to Chicago. Now, with the signing of Mike Ditka as head coach, phase one of that plan is complete.’” — David Condon
Introduced as Bears coach: Jan. 19, 1993
Years coaching the Bears: 1993-98
Record: 40-56 (.417)
What team management said: “Dave struck me as a coach who would be tough-minded and establish a very good rapport with the players and who would play the style of defense that the fans have come to appreciate in Chicago Bear defenses. They would be tough and aggressive, and players would swarm to the ball.” — Michael McCaskey
What the coach said: “I am sure some of the fans will wonder if I am tough enough to be in Chicago. But I can reflect back and refresh your memory that I was one of the guys sitting in the meeting room when the Cowboys went 1-15 (in 1989). I was one of the guys watching the film. I got through that without Maalox. Believe me, I am tough enough and I am looking forward to the challenge.” — Dave Wannstedt
What the Tribune wrote: “Finally, after all these years, Michael McCaskey got to do something he wanted to do with his Bears. He was smiling so hard you would have thought he’d gotten a new lease on Soldier Field, where he introduced Dave Wannstedt as his coach.
“If you don’t think Wannstedt will have just about all the power he wants, you must think Mike Ditka really is a consultant.” — Don Pierson
Introduced as Bears coach: Jan. 24, 1999
Years coaching the Bears: 1999-2003
Record: 35-45 (.438)
What team management said: “I still think we did it thoughtfully and that it was the right decision.” — Michael McCaskey
What the coach said: “I hope (being the second choice) won’t affect our acceptance at all. … Two years from now nobody will care (he was the second choice). If we’re winning, people will think I’m pretty good at what I do. If not, (the Bears) will go in another direction.” — Dick Jauron
What the Tribune wrote: “It took less time for the Bears to sign the 12th head coach in franchise history to a guaranteed four-year, $4.4 million contract than it took to clarify the mess that sent their first choice packing Saturday afternoon. But Jauron wasn’t complaining and McCaskey wasn’t explaining.” — Melissa Isaacson
Introduced as Bears coach: Jan. 15, 2004
Years coaching the Bears: 2004-12
Record: 81-63 (.563)
What team management said: “I’m never going to do this again. This is my last time, I promise you that. The next autopsy will be mine. If I did this wrongly, don’t worry about me coming back here.” — Jerry Angelo
What the coach said: “I don’t believe in rebuilding and things like that. I’m looking for us to make that move right away, to beat Green Bay, to win the (NFC North) division and win that world championship right away.” — Lovie Smith
What the Tribune wrote: “The small-town kid from Texas started his Bears tenure thinking big. Those who have been around Halas Hall long enough to remember the man the building is named for say no Bears coach has spoken so boldly on his first day on the job since Mike Ditka.” — David Haugh
Introduced as Bears coach: Jan. 17, 2013
Years coaching the Bears: 2013-14
Record: 13-19 (.406)
What team management said: “I was impressed with his passion for the game, passion for life and I was impressed with his humility.” —George McCaskey
What the coach said: “The quarterback has to be able to complete a throwing motion or he can’t do his job. I have a lot of respect for the coaches who have been here. It’s not going to be perfect out there. They are going to hit us. They are going to get to us. But (you must) minimize those things because if the quarterback can’t release the ball, the obvious takes place.
“It is one of the most important points of emphasis each and every day, keeping him safe in the pocket in practice as well in quarterback safety. When you prioritize something you make (it) the focus of your attention … it has the opportunity to manifest itself into the right thing on Sunday. There is no special secret or special protection style or special technique. It is a collective team focus that this is important. Now, is it going to happen to our expectations? I don’t know. But I know it won’t happen unless we put a focus on it.” — Marc Trestman
What the Tribune wrote: “Marc Trestman is the Bears’ man with a plan — a plan so thorough, it starts with his first day on the job and ends with a Super Bowl XLVII parade in February 2014.
“Trestman delivered his first year in a 13-month calendar to Phil Emery when he was interviewed, undoubtedly appealing to the Bears general manager’s meticulous nature.” — Brad Biggs
Introduced as Bears coach: Jan. 19, 2015
Years coaching the Bears: 2015-17
Record: 14-34 (.292)
What team management said: “There’s a certain confidence about him, and there’s a certain trust that he knows exactly what it takes to build a winner. He’s done it twice.” — Ted Phillips
What the coach said: “I can’t make any promises other than I’m going to give you all I’ve got. And that (Lombardi) trophy is kind of lonely out there in the hallway.” — John Fox
What the Tribune wrote: “A lot of men might have suffered whiplash in going from addressing one locker room after a disappointing playoff exit a week earlier to appearing in the Mugs Halas Auditorium on Monday with a fresh rebuilding project on his hands.
“But Fox didn’t appear remotely out of place, and Chairman George McCaskey and general manager Ryan Pace were able to lean back and smile as Fox handled questions with ease, knowing they had a man with a track record in the job. That made it a totally different feeling than any other introduction of a Bears coach in recent history.” — Brad Biggs
Introduced as Bears coach: Jan. 9, 2018
Years coaching the Bears: 2018-2021
Record: 34-31 (.523)
What team management said: “It’s a really great feeling when you meet a person and everything clicks, and everything comes together. Matt’s a proven leader. He’s a winner. He’s intelligent. He’s innovative. He has strong character. He’s got a great family. And he shares the same passion for the game that I have.” — Ryan Pace
What the coach said: “So this will be a new opportunity for me and it’ll be a challenge. There will be ups and downs and I’ll be able to understand where those are at and I’ll have Ryan (Pace) there in my corner to say, ‘Hey Matt, listen, maybe you should look at it this way or that way.’ But I’m going to grow and that’s the beautiful part of being in this situation right now.” — Matt Nagy
What the Tribune wrote: “Finally, for the first time in way too long, a Bears coach connected with his audience and commanded the room in a way that made it easy to imagine him leading the Bears out of the hole the franchise has dug for itself. At last, the front man for the franchise exuded genuine enthusiasm on the podium and looked comfortable being in charge, showing none of the awkwardness Chicago has suffered through for too many years at Halas Hall.
“A welcome Matt, indeed.” — David Haugh