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Former 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio named Broncos head coach



© Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Former 49ers and Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has agreed to become the next Denver Broncos head coach. Fangio will replace former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph.

Fangio became a popular head coaching candidate after consistently fielding stellar defenses over the greater part of the past decade. Most recently, Fangio transformed the Bears defense from the No. 24-ranked unit in 2016 into the No. 1 overall defense in the NFL in 2018. The Bears allowed a league-low 17.7 points per game and 299.7 yards per game, the third-fewest in the league, this past season.

Fangio, of course, led the 49ers to similar feats during his tenure from 2011 to 2014. In each of the final three years of his 49ers tenure, Fangio’s defenses finished in the top-three for scoring. In 2012, the 49ers sent six defensive players to the Pro Bowl. In 2013, they sent seven.

Fangio was fired shortly after Jim Harbaugh was let go after the 2014 season concluded. The Bears promptly signed Fangio as their new defensive coordinator. The 49ers have not fielded a top-17 scoring defense since.

In January of 2017, when Kyle Shanahan took over as 49ers head coach, reports circulated that Fangio was one of Shanahan’s top defensive coordinator candidates. But Fangio remained in Chicago, where his impressive overhaul of the Bears defense has now led him to his first NFL head coaching job.