A lot of Chicago Bears fans were ready to simply cut the cord with Matt Nagy midway through the 2019 season. This despite the man winning both the NFC North and Coach of the Year in 2018. That is how bad the team looked at one point. They were losing games to opponents they had no business faltering against. The offense was absolutely atrocious to watch. Worst of all the quarterback that Nagy had personally promised to turn into a credible starter had regressed in a massive way.
By the time the team reached 4-6, most had written them off as finished. One who didn’t was none other than college basketball coaching legend Mike Krzyzewski. The man known affectionately as Coach K has guided the Duke program to five national championships since he took over the program way back in 1980. If anybody knows what good coaches are supposed to look like, it’s him.
As it turns out, the man is a diehard Bears fan and he became a personal admirer of Nagy’s after the 2018 playoff run according to Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune. Krzyzewski knew that even with the adversity Nagy had the key traits a good coach needs to work around a problem.
He’s seen it all before.
“I watch it as a coach who’s a fan,” he said. “It’s not just watching the play. I look at facial expressions, how they work with one another, the extra effort, how they interact.”
From afar, Krzyzewski found himself struck by how quickly Nagy had established a bond with his players and instilled a collective confidence.
“Matt knew that was the first step and the most important part before he started worrying about his offense or his defense or the special teams,” Krzyzewski said. “You have to first create an environment that is conducive to a high level of success. … He has a really good rapport with his team. You can just tell.”
The Bears are in good hands with Matt Nagy
For all the talk about play calling and the like, one of the hardest things to do as a head coach is getting a team to believe and stay motivated in the midst of losing. A lot of guys can’t. Nagy is proving that he is one of the exceptions. The Bears have reeled off three-straight victories to reach 7-6, at least providing themselves a window to still make the playoffs if they can finish strong with three more victories. The team is clicking and they are all in on their mission.
Coach K knows that Nagy is at the heart of that, using his motivational skills and steadfast approach to keep his guys focused on the prize. He does this by taking it one game at a time. Nothing else matters. Just beat the opponent in front of you. The results speak for themselves. The Bears have a chance to give their season new life if they can upset the Packers in Lambeau on Sunday. Nagy was a primary factor in making this possible.