As Chiefs players ducked their heads through the door of the plane and shuffled toward their seats, about to head off to another road game, their offensive coordinator would sit in his seat, open up his well-worn notebook and begin to write.
With his four sons — Brayden, Tate, Jaxon and Jett — moving past their toddler years, Matt Nagy thought it was important to write about them, to capture the fleeting moments of parenthood. The plane trips gave him reason to pause and reflect on the day.
Always an avid note-taker, Nagy started keeping a journal regularly two years ago, hoping it could someday serve a second purpose.
“The idea, the mindset,” he said, “of trying to be a head coach.”
He wrote down the speeches Chiefs coach Andy Reid gave and the circumstances that led to them.
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“It could be during a losing streak — a way of reaching the team and connecting with them,” Nagy said. “Sometimes it’s tough love; it could be calling people out, connecting with them. [The detail is] good if you write it down. The other part is, it’s about life. I’ll jot it down so I have it.”
The Bears made Nagy their 16th head coach on Monday, to tap into his vast quarterback knowledge. He’ll call the Bears’ plays and mentor young quarterback Mitch Trubisky into, the Bears hope, the face of the franchise.
While general manager Ryan Pace has praised Nagy’s leadership ability, Nagy has never been a head coach. He knows offense, but the most important question is just three words: Can he lead?
Nagy has his notebook for reference as he begins to write the first chapter of his own book with the Bears.
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It would have been rude to scribble during dinner, so Nagy waited until he got in the car and wrote from memory. A mutual friend — their trainer — had put Nagy in touch with Keystone Custom Homes president Larry Wisdom in 2008, hoping Wisdom could help Nagy, then an Arena Football League quarterback, earn a steady paycheck. Nagy had a real-estate license but little business experience.
“The thing that stood out to me was, [Nagy] was a student about what we had done,” said Wisdom, who had moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from the Chicago area the year before. “And he was a student about what he wanted to do.”
Wisdom hired Nagy and began teaching him the business from scratch. Whether he was 1-on-1 or in a staff meeting with 100 people, Nagy kept taking notes.
“After a while, I sort of felt like a psychiatrist,” joked Wisdom, a Marmion Academy grad. “I was worried about what was written down.”
Wisdom allowed Nagy to leave for training camp internships with the Eagles in 2008 and 2009. By the time Nagy left to be a full-time coach in 2010, he had begun to excel in home sales by knowing what his customers…