Who Is New Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace?
Just when you thought the Bears would zig, there they go and zag. When everyone and their brother was willing to bet on a Chris Ballard homecoming, the Bears pulled a bit of a stunner and selected former New Orleans Saints Director of Player Personnel Ryan Pace. So who is Ryan Pace? Let’s learn a little bit about the 6th general manager in Chicago Bears history, who before today, didn’t even have his own Wikipedia page.
Pace is a native of Flower Mound, Texas, but attended Eastern Illinois University from 1995-1999. Pace was a four-year letterman defensive end and served as team captain as a senior. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.
Pace joined the Saints in 2001 assisting in the coordination of all operations at training camp and on game days at the Super Dome. He became involved in the scouting department in 2002, serving as a scouting assistant. From 2004-2006, Pace served as a Pro Scout while evaluating veteran free agents, scouting future opponents and evaluating college players for the NFL Draft. Pace helped the Saints navigate through some difficult times in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
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Pace served as the Saints director of pro scouting from 2007-2012 where he had a hand in acquiring the players needed to win the Saints first Super Bowl in franchise history in 2009. Pace was promoted a couple of different times during his tenure with the Saints to keep him in house. His last two years Pace was promoted to director of player personnel, overseeing all personnel moves under GM Mickey Loomis.
In 2008, he was selected by the club to attend the Stanford Business School’s Executive Education NFL-Stanford Program for Managers, an educational program and honor known across the league as an important training ground for promising executives.
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).
Mickey Loomis and the Saints issued a statement regarding Pace’s hiring:
At only 37 years of age, Pace will be the youngest GM in the league, behind both Browns GM Ray Farmer and Jaguars GM David Caldwell, both of whom are 40.
Pace and his wife Stephanie have a daughter Cardyn.