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The Chicago Bears hire Ryan Pace as General Manager (Updated)

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The Chicago Bears have hired Ryan Pace as general manager after interviewing him for the job yesterday.

Ryan Pace is the new General manager of the Chicago Bears
Ryan Pace is the new General manager of the Chicago Bears
@ChicagoBears

The following is from the Chicago Bears' official press release naming Ryan Pace as the 6th General manager in the history of the team.

Pace joins the Bears after spending 14 seasons (2001-14) as a member of the Saints organization, including 13 in the player personnel department. He spent his last two seasons with the franchise as director of player personnel. In that role, Pace helped manage the team's college and pro scouting operations including all facets of scouting and evaluation of college and pro prospects along with New Orleans' roster.

Pace also spent six seasons as the club's director of pro scouting (2007-12), which included overseeing the club's pro scouting staff. His duties also involved recommending player acquisitions by evaluating the Saints roster and potential NFL free agents, monitoring all NFL transactions, researching possible trade opportunities, assessing player talent from other professional leagues and directing the advance scouting of future opponents. He also helped the Saints prepare for the NFL Draft following the regular season by assisting in the evaluation of top college prospects.

The Flower Mound, Texas native got his start in New Orleans' player personnel department as a scouting assistant in 2002, a role he held for two years before working as a pro scout from 2004-06. During that time he evaluated free agents and collegiate players entering the NFL Draft as well as scouted upcoming opponents. He joined the Saints in 2001 supporting the coordination of all game day, training camp and stadium operations.

Over Pace's 13 seasons in the New Orleans personnel department (2002-14), the Saints compiled a 115-93 (.553) record. Since 2006, the Saints reached the playoffs five times, won three division titles, played in two NFC Championship games (2006 and 2009) and won the franchise's first Super Bowl title (Super Bowl XLIV). The Saints pro scouting department helped build a Super Bowl championship club by using all avenues at their disposal: signing free agents QB Drew Brees, FB Heath Evans, LB Scott Fujita, CB Randall Gay, C Jonathan Goodwin, CB Jabari Greer and DE Anthony Hargrove and trading for LB Jonathan Vilma and TE Jeremy Shockey. Pace has also worked to acquire players such as RB Darren Sproles, G Ben Grubbs, NT Brodrick Bunkley, LBs David Hawthorne and Curtis Lofton, while also acquiring S Rafael Bush off waivers. Over the past two seasons the Saints draft classes have included current regular starters LT Terron Armstead (2013, third round), WRs Brandin Cooks (2014, first round) and Kenny Stills (2013, fifth round) and S Kenny Vaccaro (2013, first round).

In 2008, he was selected by the club to attend the NFL's Stanford Business School's Executive Education Program for Managers. He was a part of the franchise in 2005 while the club dealt with immense adversity having to guide itself through several moves in base operations in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Pace played collegiately as a defensive end at Eastern Illinois (1995-99), serving as team captain as a senior, graduating with a bachelor's degree in marketing.

Pace and his wife, Stephanie, have a daughter, Cardyn.

Chris Ballard, who has ties to the organization, was thought to be the front runner, but Bears brass went with another solid candidate in Pace.

UPDATE:

The Saints could have promoted Pace, as their current Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis is also working as the head of basketball operations for the New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA. Even if Pace was moved up to GM of the Saints, Loomis would still have final say.

Dan Bernstein of The Score is reporting that Pace will have complete control of football operations for the Bears.

From Mike Triplett, ESPN beat reporter for the New Orleans Saints.

Ryan Pace won't be easily replaced in the New Orleans Saints organization after leaving to become the Chicago Bears' general manager on Thursday.

The 37-year-old -- who becomes the youngest GM in the NFL -- was so valued that the Saints created a new position for him when he received his latest promotion in July 2013.

Pace was promoted to the role of player personnel director, overseeing both the pro and college scouting departments. Before that, the Saints had separate pro and college scouting directors who reported to general manager Mickey Loomis.

Saints head coach Sean Payton had this to say about Pace.

"He is really good at what he does," Saints coach Sean Payton said about Pace last week. "He's a big part of what we do. He's very talented and I know he has been promoted here a few times, and deservedly so. I get fired up when he comes to see me first thing [in the] morning. His mind is already racing. I know he is all-in."

If you're looking for some possible head coaching candidates with ties to Pace, the recently unemployed former head coach of the Buffalo Bills Doug Marrone, was the offensive coordinator in New Orleans from 2006-2008.

Current Saints offensive coordinator, Pete Carmichael, interviewed for the Bears head coaching vacancy two years ago.

Peggy Kusinski is reporting that the Bears kept head coaching candidate Todd Bowles waiting in the Halas Hall lobby until they finalized the deal with Pace for GM. Once it was official, Pace was involved with the interview of Bowles.

It's being reported by numerous sources that Chris Ballard was all but a done deal untill they met with Ryan Pace.

The Bears will hold an introductory press conference for Ryan Pace on Friday, January 9 at 11:00 am CT.

What are your thoughts on this hire?