Why Does Everyone Love the Bears Hiring Harry Hiestand?

Everybody loves Harry Hiestand.

The Bears have drawn rave reviews for hiring Hiestand from fans, former players and media. From Kevin Fishbain at The Athletic:

NFL insiders declared it a coup for new head coach Matt Nagy to bring in Hiestand.

Many echoed what one league source said about Hiestand, “The best in the business.“

There’s a part of me that wants to accept this at face value. But Hiestand’s history has me wondering if this isn’t all just a part of the honeymoon period that follows the hiring of a new head coach.

Here’s the list of places Hiestand has coached:

East Stroudsburg (1981-1982)
Student assistant
East Stroudsburg (1983-1985)
Offensive line coach
Penn (1986-1987)
Tight ends coach
USC (1987-1988)
Graduate assistant
Toledo (1988-1989)
Offensive line coach
Cincinnati (1989-1993)
Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach
Missouri (1994-1996)
Offensive line coach
Illinois (1997-1999)
Offensive line coach
Illinois (2000-2004)
Assistant head coach/offensive line coach
Chicago Bears (2005-2009)
Offensive line coach
Tennessee (2010-2011)
Offensive line coach
Notre Dame (2012-2017)
Offensive line coach
Chicago Bears (2018-present)
Offensive line coach

See anything unusual? Let me make it easier:

East Stroudsburg (1981-1982) – college
East Stroudsburg (1983-1985) – college
Penn (1986-1987) – college
USC (1987-1988) – college
Toledo (1988-1989) – college
Cincinnati (1989-1993) – college
Missouri (1994-1996) – college
Illinois (1997-2004) – college
Chicago Bears (2005-2009) – pro
Tennessee (2010-2011) – college
Notre Dame (2012-2017) – college
Chicago Bears (2018-present)- pro
One professional team – the Bears.

If Hiestand is really the best in the business, why are the Bears the only professional team that was apparently clamoring to hire him?

In fairness there are a lot of possible reasons why Hiestand might be particular about the jobs he’s worked. It is possible, for instance, that his family is in Chicago. In that case, staying at Notre Dame would have been his preference after 2009 when, presumably, he was let go with former offensive coordinator Ron Turner. But then, if he was “the best in the business”, why didn’t former head coach Lovie Smith keep him on?

That’s a lot of reading between the lines and I could make up excuses and do more back and forth if I chose to. But you get the idea. There’s enough smoke here to make me wonder if there isn’t fire and I’m wondering if all of this praise of Hiestand isn’t just so much hype.

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