The Indianapolis Colts have charged Chuck Pagano with turning around the franchise after its worst season in 20 years.
Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Pagano, 51, was hired as head coach yesterday, a week after the Colts fired Jim Caldwell following a 2-14 National Football League campaign.
“It’s difficult to leave the Ravens, but I couldn’t pass up on this great opportunity,” Pagano said on Baltimore’s website. “I’m just thrilled and so excited.”
Pagano is the fourth Ravens defensive coordinator to take a head coaching job. Marvin Lewis went to the Cincinnati Bengals, Mike Nolan joined the San Francisco 49ers and Rex Ryan took the job with the New York Jets.
“We’re so happy for Chuck,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in an e-mailed statement. “We’re proud of him. Like me, Chuck grew up in the game and loves it. We’ll miss him and thank him for all he did for the Ravens.”
Baltimore’s defense allowed the third-fewest points and yards in the NFL this season, Pagano’s first as defensive coordinator after coaching Baltimore’s secondary from 2008 to 2010. He’s also been an NFL assistant with the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns.
The appointment comes two weeks after Colts owner Jim Irsay hired Ryan Grigson, the former Philadelphia Eagles director of player personnel, as general manager. Grigson joined nine days after Vice Chairman Bill Polian and General Manager Chris Polian were fired.
The changes are similar to those Irsay made with the Colts in 1998. Bill Polian was hired along with coach Jim Mora, and the team took quarterback Peyton Manning with the first pick in that year’s NFL draft.
Indianapolis has the first pick this year and ESPN has said the Colts will take Stanford University quarterback Andrew Luck as Manning continues to recover from neck surgery that forced him to miss the 2011 season.
Pagano will be introduced at a news conference today, the Colts said in an e-mailed statement.