INDIANAPOLIS – Chuck Pagano has been named the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay and General Manager Ryan Grigson named Pagano, who spent the previous four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, to guide the field fortunes of the Colts. Pagano spent the 2011 season as defensive coordinator with Baltimore, after serving from 2008-10 as secondary coach.
Pagano, 51, is a 28-year coaching veteran who recently served as the fifth defensive coordinator in Ravens history. Baltimore posted a 12-4 record in 2011 to win the AFC North and earn the AFC's second playoff seed. Baltimore advanced to the AFC Championship game with a 20-13 victory over Houston in the Divisional Playoffs. The Ravens battled New England to a 23-20 verdict at Foxborough in the conference championship game. The outcome was not decided until the final seconds.
Baltimore (288.9) sported the NFL's third-rated defense in 2011. The Ravens were ranked second against the rush (92.6) and fourth against the pass (196.3). The Ravens finished third in the league in scoring defense (16.6) for the fourth straight season. The streak tied the NFL mark for consecutive seasons ranking in the top three points allowed. Baltimore's 48 sacks ranked behind 50 by Philadelphia and Minnesota. The Ravens finished first in red zone defense (38.1 TD percent), opponent quarterback rating (68.8), fewest offensive touchdowns allowed (21) and fewest touchdown passes permitted (11). The Ravens ranked second in third-down defense (32.1 percent). Additionally, Baltimore held nine of 16 regular season opponents to 17 or fewer points. The team had four players voted as Pro Bowl starters – linebacker Terrell Suggs, linebacker Ray Lewis, safety Ed Reed and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Suggs had 14 sacks and a team-record and NFL-high seven forced fumbles.
Baltimore is the only team to make the playoffs and to win a post-season game in each of the past four seasons. The Ravens have earned post-season berths in five of the past six years and in eight of the past 12 seasons.
"Chuck has done a great job," Head Coach John Harbaugh has said of Pagano. "Chuck is a great coach. It's more of a peer relationship in a lot of ways at this level, and they've (coaches and players) done a great job working together. Chuck is a great example of that. Obviously, it's been reflected in the way those guys have played."
"He helped me with my mental preparation so much," Reed has said of Pagano. "He always got me thinking what could be the next play or what could be the next thing that the offense does. He always kept me thinking ahead and what could possibly come next of the football field."
Pagano had exposure to the styles of defensive strategists Rob Ryan (2005-06 at Oakland) and Rex Ryan (2008 with Baltimore). Lewis recently compared the styles of Pagano and Rex Ryan.
"Both of them are very fiery, and I think (there are) a lot of similarities because both are 'player' coaches," said Lewis. "They really relate to their players and things like that. Both are very out-going. I think Chuck is more settled when it comes to the outside world but to us, Chuck is Chuck. That's what we appreciate, and that's why we're doing the things we are doing, because of the flexibility he gives us."
Pagano comes from a football family. His father, Sam, coached for 26 years at Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado. He then coached for several more seasons in Europe. John Pagano, Chuck's younger brother, is the defensive coordinator with San Diego. He was a defensive assistant with the Colts from 1998-2001 under Head Coach Jim Mora.
THE PAGANO FILE
COLLEGE: 1980-83, Wyoming, Safety
COLLEGIATE EXPERIENCE: 1984-85, Southern California, Graduate Assistant
1986, Miami, Graduate Assistant
1987-88, Boise State, Outside Linebackers
1989, East Carolina, Secondary
1990-91, UNLV, Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
1992-94, East Carolina, Secondary/Outside Linebackers
1995-2000, Miami, Secondary/Special Teams
2007, North Carolina, Defensive Coordinator
NFL EXPERIENCE: 2001-04, Cleveland Browns, Secondary
2005-06, Oakland Raiders, Defensive Backs
2008-10, Baltimore Ravens, Secondary
2011, Baltimore Ravens, Defensive Coordinator