The Chicago Bears made history after promoting its safeties coach, Sean Desai, as the team’s defensive coordinator, making him the first person of Indian descent to become a coordinator in the NFL.
The historic announcement came on Jan. 22 when the Bears officially confirmed the 37-year-old as the team’s new defensive coordinator, replacing NFL coach veteran Chuck Pagano, who revealed his plan to retire on Jan. 13.
The @ChicagoBears promoted safeties coach Sean Desai to defensive coordinator, the team announced Friday.
Desai is believed to be the first Indian American to be a coordinator in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/tuBpZvU2dc
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 23, 2021
“We are very fortunate and excited to promote from within and announce Sean Desai has been named defensive coordinator for our football team,” coach Matt Nagy said. “He is a person of high football intelligence, extremely detail-oriented, has a very strong work ethic and I cannot think of someone more deserving to lead our defense. Sean is a family man of high character and the respect he has within our building from coaches, players and staff is unparalleled.”
Before the confirmation, former Bears linebackers Sam Acho endorsed Desai for the position and described him as Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio’s right-hand man.
The Bears don’t have to look far for their next DC. Sean Desai has been ready for that role for years. He was Vic Fangio’s right hand man for 4 years, & helped craft that defense to greatness. Smart, talented, knows ball and has all the credentials. All he needs is an opportunity
— Sam Acho (@TheSamAcho) January 18, 2021
In addition to Fangio, Desai also worked under three defensive coordinators for the Bears, including Pagano and Mel Tucker.
Desai first joined the Bears in 2013 as a defensive quality control assistant for six seasons (2013–2018), NBC Sports reported. He was then promoted to safeties coach in 2019. Desai is the last remaining member of former coach Marc Trestman’s staff.
He started his career as a coach in 2006 when he served as a defensive assistant and special teams coach for his alma mater Temple University, where he received his doctorate in educational administration.
Desai filled the roles for five seasons before receiving a promotion to special teams coordinator in 2010. He became one of the youngest coordinators in college football at the age of 27.