Brace yourselves, the Chicago Bears have become the first NFL team to hire a Desi defensive coordinator.
Between chess club, mathletes and Sunday school, sports would just be a distraction that would lead to B’s on report cards…which makes Sean Desai’s rise to heading the defense of one of the most storied franchises in NFL history that much more remarkable.
Desai, the son of Indian immigrants, is a learned man. In fact, he has a PhD in educational administration from Temple University, the same University that gave him his start in a football career. For four years, he was their defensive & special-teams coach with future stints at University of Miami and Boston College, until he broke through as a quality control assistant with the Bears in 2013, specifically working on improving the defensive schemes for linebackers and defensive backs.
Desai’s comment to NBCsports.com, shows where this Indian-American is approaching sports from. “Because I didn’t have to do it, I didn’t play college ball. Obviously, I didn’t play in the NFL. But education is my passion and I really don’t find a better way to be a teacher than on the grass and doing things actively and I love the planning and the preparation behind this game in particular,” Desai said.
What makes his rise so unique is Desai did not actually play college football, he was a person who loved a game and decided to go for it. It seems like he’s out of sorts, but in reality, it’s not so different than what many of the diaspora end up doing when they take a chance on coming to America for that better life.
Sean Desai truly paid his dues. Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio considered Desai his right hand man in 2018 when he was the Bears defensive coordinator, a season that saw Sean Desai develop schemes for the top rated defense in the NFL. Former Bears star linebacker Sam Achoo tweeted, “The Bears don’t have to look far for their next DC. Sean Desai has been ready for that role for years. He was Vic Fangio’s right hand man for 4 years, & helped craft that defense to greatness. Smart, talented, knows ball and has all the credentials. All he needs is an opportunity”.
But the real story at the end of the day is how little him being Indian actually figured into writing his story. It fills me with great hope and immense joy that our first Indian assistant coach for any NFL team ever had very little to do with him being Indian, in fact there hasn’t been any clear reporting on what state of India his parents immigrated from.
What is fairly evident, however, he is greatly respected by his peers and is owed our support as he opens yet another door for our children