Entering his 37th season of coaching and 14th season at the NFL level, Fred Pagac (pronounced PUG-itch) joins the Bills’ coaching staff as the team’s linebackers coach. The veteran defensive coach arrives in Buffalo after spending the past eight seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.
During Pagac’s time with the Vikings, he spent seven seasons as the team’s linebackers coach (2006-10, 2012-13) and one season as the team’s defensive coordinator (2011) while mentoring players including Chad Greenway, Jared Allen and E.J.Henderson.
Pagac led the Vikings’ LBs for five seasons (2006-10) before taking over defensive coordinator duties for the 2011 season. During his first stint with the LBs the Vikings defense ranked in the top 10 of the NFL in total defense four times and three straight from 2008-10. With Pagac overseeing the defense, Allen broke the Vikings single-season sack record with 22.0 sacks.Allen was honored as a First-Team Associated Press All-Pro and earned his fourth Pro Bowl berth.
In 2010, Henderson flourished under the direction of Pagac and earned Pro Bowl honors.
Pagac’s 2009 LB unit was strong against the run and pass, helping the Vikings rank sixth in the NFL in total defense and second against the run after leading the NFL in run defense the previous three seasons.
The 2008 version of Pagac’s Vikings LBs finished the season ranked sixth in the NFL in total defense and first in rushing defense for the third straight season, becoming the first team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to lead the League in rush defense three straight seasons.
Under Pagac’s watch in 2007, Henderson led the team with a career-high 155 tackles in his first season playing MLB since 2004.He added a career-best 4.5 sacks and led the team with a career-high 14 tackles for loss while earning Pro Bowl alternate honors.
During Pagac’s first year on the job, the 2006 Vikings finished eighth in NFL total defense and first against the run for only the third time in team history.
Prior to joining the Vikings, Pagac coached linebackers for the Kansas City Chiefs for two seasons (2004-05). Under Pagac’s direction in 2005, Chiefs LB Kawika Mitchell led the team with a career-high 135 tackles and 14 passes defensed.Pagac also tutored rookie LB Derrick Johnson, who finished third on the team with 110 tackles and added 2.0 sacks and nine passes defensed.
Pagac spent two seasons with the Oakland Raiders after entering the NFL ranks in 2001 with the club. In 2002, Pagac helped the Raiders defense rank third in the NFL against the run as Oakland won the AFC and faced Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII.
From 1978-2000, Pagac coached at his alma mater, Ohio State, and worked with 10 Buckeyes defensive performers who earned All-America honors, including former Bills CB Antoine Winfield. Pagac also tutored future Pro Bowl LBs Chris Spielman, Pepper Johnson and Mike Vrabel, as well as CB Shawn Springs, LB Na’ill Diggs, S Mike Doss and CB Nate Clements.
Pagac was assistant head coach to John Cooper in 2000 in his final season at OSU. From 1996-99, Pagac served as defensive coordinator.
Prior to being named defensive coordinator in 1996, Pagac tutored Ohio State’s LBs for 14 seasons (1982- 95). He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under the legendary Woody Hayes in 1978 before joining the staff on a full-time basis under Earle Bruce in 1982.
Pagac spent two seasons playing tight end in the NFL after entering the league as a rookie free agent with Chicago in 1974 and then playing for Tampa Bay in 1976.Collegiately, Pagac was a three-year starter at TE for Ohio State from 1971-73.He was part of Buckeyes teams that compiled an impressive 25-6-2 record over his playing career, including a 19-3 mark in the Big Ten.During his senior season in ’73, the Buckeyes posted a 10-0-1 record and finished second in the final AP poll.
Pagac was born in Richeyville, PA.He and his wife, Bernie, have a daughter, Jennifer, and a son, Fred, Jr., who played LB at Ohio State and with the Frankfurt Galaxy.They have 5 grandchildren, Isabel, Alessandra, A.J., Landon and Bradyn.