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John Elway’s new Broncos coach, Vic Fangio, is a “man of few words, except when you get him mad”

John Elway's new Broncos coach, Vic Fangio, is a "man of few words, except when you get him mad"

Even earlier than this week, a little piece of Vic Fangio’s coronary heart had been wedged into the Rampart Vary for many years. Tony Fangio, the older brother of the Broncos’ new coach by 5 years and the second-oldest of the 4 sons of Victor and Alice Fangio, moved right here in 1978.

“I know what it was like when John Elway retired,” Tony, 65, informed The Submit from his residence in Colorado Springs. “And I know what it was like when Peyton Manning retired.”

Groovy. However does Vic know?

A pause.

“I think he knows more about this town,” huge brother replied, “than people give him credit for.”

Say what you will — and you will — about Vic Fangio, the person does his homework. And the extra you do the identical on the cat to whom Elway simply tossed the keys, the extra it turns into clear why Broncos fell onerous for the 60-year-old NFL lifer who had by no means been a head coach till final week.

“I’ve never seen a harder-working man than him,” Tony stated of his little brother. “Again when he was with the Saints, again within the ‘80s, he introduced me out to a recreation with my mother and father. They gained the sport — if I keep in mind proper, it was a shutout.

“After the game, we went out to eat and when we got to his place, he started this chart and started sketching plays and X’s and O’s (for the next opponent). I said: ‘You just won the game. Don’t you take a break?’ He said, ‘That game is gone. We’ve got a new game coming up.’ That’s how dedicated he is.”

He’s the proud son of a tailor, a prouder son of Dunmore, Pa., a burg of 14,000 and alter tucked subsequent to Scranton alongside the northeast nook of the Rust Belt. He’s the daddy of two, a golf nut with a 9 handicap. He digs speaking concerning the Sixers, the Phillies, Harold Melvin, and Earth, Wind & Hearth, and hates speaking about himself. So we requested a handful of buddies and family members to take a crack on the honors.

ACT I: DUNMORE, PA.

Victor John Fangio was born in Dunmore on Aug. 22, 1958, graduating in 1976 from Dunmore Excessive Faculty, the place he had performed security and extensive receiver for legendary coach Jack Henzes, who has the second-most wins (435) of any prep coach in Pennsylvania historical past. A lot of Vic’s fast household, together with mom Alice, now 92, nonetheless reside in or round Dunmore.

Alice Fangio: I feel (he needed to teach) when he got here out of the womb. His father was actually taken with sports activities, so Victor adopted that. And that was his entire life: Sports activities. Not piano classes.

Tony Fangio: Two youngsters throughout the road from us have been the identical age. One was my age, one was his age. And we’d go over to the Dunmore Little League (subject), which was proper throughout the road, and virtually each night time we’d play soccer there towards the 2 neighbor youngsters. It was Pat and Mike — they lived throughout the road from us. In our home, we had two adjoining rooms the place one room met one other room and there was a massive opening. I don’t know if you keep in mind the little pixie soccer, the little rubber footballs. We might play deal with soccer. I might throw it to him, he would run at me and I might deal with him. And he’d throw it at me and I’d run at him and he would deal with me. That was a lot of enjoyable, too. No (furnishings injury), we type of pushed every little thing apart. Quite a bit of rug burns, although.

Cory Fangio, Vic’s nephew: If we performed a board recreation, we’d child about Victor — he’d all the time discover a solution to cheat to win if he was dropping. He hates to lose. Hates to lose. My grandmother nonetheless youngsters him about this, tells the story that after any Little League recreation or midget soccer recreation, she stated, “If Victor lost, he came home crying.” She tells that story on a regular basis. She all the time talks about “Victor, how he hates to lose. If he ever lost, he’d cry, he’d take it personally.”

Tony Fangio: (Vic is) in all probability extra like my father. If I needed to decide one, I’d say my father, perhaps (as a result of he’s) strong-willed.

  • Photograph offered by Scranton Occasions-Tribune

    Dunmore’s Vic Fangio, proper, closes in on Abington Heights’ Tony Nese in the course of the 1976 Dream Recreation at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

  • Photograph offered by Scranton Occasions-Tribune

    Senior gamers on the Dunmore Excessive Faculty soccer group that gained the Massive 11 championship have been, first row, from left: assistant coach Paul Marranca, Mike Loretti, Robert Mesko, Bob Decide, Cory Meade and Joe Marrazzo. Second row: Vic Fangio, Joe Tabone, Rick Ciaglia, Tim Ruddy, Mike Sandone and Invoice Butler.

ACT II: EAST STROUDSBURG AND PHILLY

Fangio by no means performed school soccer, falling sufferer to the teaching bug whereas attending Division II East Stroudsburg College, the place he was learning to be a highschool P.E. instructor, hoping to comply with in Henzes’ footsteps. As an undergrad, he commuted 45 minutes every approach again to his alma mater, the place he labored underneath Henzes as linebackers coach and, later, defensive coordinator.

Dennis Douds, former East Stroudsburg soccer coach: He by no means performed for us. I taught Soccer 1, Soccer 2, Soccer three. When he was in (school), he coached at Dunmore Excessive Faculty and he would are available my workplace, he would ask questions. He’d be in there at eight:30 a.m. and he’d be there at 9:30 at night time. Was he devoted? Sure. Did he have a ardour for the sport? Sure, at that age, to have the ability to say that’s what he needed to do, that’s my stroll in life.

Henzes: He was our free security for 3 years. He was a coach on the sector. I knew that he had the makings to be a good soccer coach. I informed him three issues: No. 1, be a good listener. No. 2, be the final man leaving the workplace. No. three, don’t speak concerning the man subsequent to you, as a result of you by no means know when he might turn into a head coach.

Douds had one other Dunmore native poking round his workplace at the moment, a wunderkind named Joe Marciano, a pal of Vic’s who would ultimately be a part of the staffs at Villanova (1980), Penn State (1981) and Temple (1982). Marciano nailed a low-level gig breaking down movie for the nascent Philadelphia Stars of the USFL in 1983. When the Stars’ special-teams coach left the subsequent yr, Marciano pitched coach Jim Mora on a promotion, setting the wheels in movement for an previous good friend to hitch the get together.

Douds: To make a lengthy story brief, Jim Mora talked to Joe and stated, “Do you know anybody who can take your job?” And he stated, “There’s a guy back in East Stroudsburg named Vic Fangio.” And Mora referred to as and received a maintain of Vic, and Vic was on his approach to break down movie and sleep within the cafeteria. So don’t inform me there’s a silver spoon round right here.

Cory Fangio: (Visiting Vic), we might watch the Phillies video games from behind residence plate (at Veterans Stadium), like within the groundskeeping space, me and my grandfather. To have the ability to watch the video games, stuff like that, as a child, was simply unbelievable. So we might go down for the weekend, we’d catch a Phillies recreation after which the Stars recreation. It was like, “I got to do this because of Uncle Vic.”

ACT III: NFL LIFER

The remaining is NFL defensive historical past: Mora took Fangio and Marciano with him to New Orleans, the place the pair coached the Saints’ linebackers and particular groups, respectively, from 1986-94. The Huge Straightforward revival hit its apex in 1992, when Fangio’s 4 beginning linebackers — Sam Mills and Vaughan Johnson on the within, Pat Swilling and Rickey Jackson on the surface — have been all chosen on the primary poll to the Professional Bowl, turning into the primary unit of 4 linebackers from one squad to take action.

Swilling: About my third yr or fourth yr, we had a blowup on the sidelines. I used to be going off on him, and he was going off on me and I jumped up in his face and he jumped up in my face. However the level is, when it was over, it was again to only Vic and Pat, simply coach and participant. He might get in your face. He might get in your (expletive). On the finish of the day, it goes again to only coach and participant. He by no means was vindictive. He by no means held any of that towards me.

Jackson: He taught me to make it possible for I adopted the ball. What I used to be doing was, I used to be beating up on guys they usually didn’t have the ball. You see what (Bears linebacker) Khalil Mack was doing, getting at that soccer and making performs. He was extra about getting the turnover and making performs. He taught me to get the ball; get the ball again to the offense and you’ll win extra video games. He was one of these coaches the place he would have a take a look at movie and he would have you see a play coming earlier than it comes.

Swilling: I opened up a enterprise down in New Orleans. I had some individuals who opened up a nightclub they usually used my identify. I requested him to return. He might come a couple of occasions and present help. No query, (Vic) cared extra about me off the sector than he did on the sector. I’ve been in the actual property enterprise for 30 years. I construct buildings for myself and construct condos and issues. It’s variety of humorous, a couple years in the past, I noticed Vic at a recreation and he stated, “I’m in real estate, too.” I requested him, “When do you have time for real estate?” And he type of laughed. Vic is one of these guys off the sector that the blokes will be capable of relate to. He’s not simply a soccer coach; he’s a sensible man.

Mora and Fangio reunited with Indianapolis in 1999, with the previous famously dropping his job as a result of he refused to fireside the latter on the request of then-Colts GM Invoice Polian. Fangio turned the defensive coordinator of the Texans in 2002, then joined the Ravens as a particular assistant to teach Brian Billick in 2006.

Billick: He was nice. And I used to be calling performs on the time in Baltimore and he was that additional set of eyes to problem me. And he says, “Here’s what I think the defense is going to do to you,” and when you’re a play-caller and a head coach, you want somebody to maintain you on monitor in phrases of that head teaching aspect. In fact, as a head coach, you’re on the telephone with everyone (throughout a recreation). The (employees) would joke about it, that when Vic is on the telephone, everyone shuts up. In clear and no unsure phrases, that he was the man I needed to listen to from in these sure conditions, simply because of the arrogance that you know he had.

Swilling: These (Broncos) guys, if you’re not enthusiastic about enjoying, you’re going to have a exhausting time with Vic. He’s a disciplined coach. He’ll let you have enjoyable. He’ll let you be your self. You’re going to be within the assembly rooms on time. You’re not going to be late for apply. All these issues. I’ve heard that (the Broncos are younger) … He is aware of easy methods to cope with millennials. He is aware of methods to cope with older guys. Vic can discover what buttons to push.

ACT IV: DENVER

Coordinating a top-10 scoring protection (17.four factors allowed per recreation) for Jim Harbaugh at Stanford in 2010 begat 4 seasons of top-10 scoring defenses with Harbaugh in San Francisco (2011-14), the place the Niners reached a Tremendous Bowl and two NFC title video games. Orchestrating two extra top-10 scoring defenses Chicago (2017 and 2018) helped open the door to the chance of a lifetime.

Cory Fangio: He loves teaching. That’s who he is, what makes him tick. My son was capable of end his (prep) profession underneath Coach Henzes, and Vic would all the time textual content my son after each recreation they usually’d speak forwards and backwards. He nonetheless all the time checks up on his hometown and nonetheless texts me each Friday: “Did the Bucks win?” Each soccer Friday I get a textual content from him: “What was the score?” He nonetheless cares about what’s happening.

Jackson: I despatched him two textual content messages telling him how glad I used to be. It virtually made me cry. That’s one thing I’ve by no means carried out earlier than. I’ll inform you what: I used to be so excited for him, it virtually introduced tears in my eyes.

Cory Fangio: (On Thursday), one of the issues when I used to be watching that information convention, I assumed, “My grandfather is looking down and just beaming that his son is a head coach of an NFL team.”

Tony Fangio: I advised him I waited 25 years for this, and it lastly occurred. I’ve to wrap my head round it: He’s not getting on a aircraft and leaving. He’s staying right here.

Alice Fangio: He was very brief (Wednesday). He stated, “I got the job in Colorado, and I’ll be going out there to talk to them.” After which he stated, “I’ve got to go now.” He’s a man of few phrases. Except when you get him mad.