By Steve Svetovich
Patience and long hours of hard work pay off. Dunmore’s Victor Fangio, 60, is living proof. And for the 1976 Dunmore High School graduate it took 40 years.
That’s 40 years of coaching experience that finally took him to the top of the helm.
Son of Alice and the late Victor, Sr., Fangio, the former Dunmore High School safety-wide receiver was named head football coach of the NFL Denver Broncos last month (January 10).
His mom, the former Alice Kozlowski, 92 and very spry, continues to reside in Dunmore. And her reaction?
“Well, I was thrilled for him,” she said. “He was finally recognized. He can do the job. And the Denver Broncos recognize it.”
Fangio, who played football at Dunmore under the legendary Jack Henzes, is known as a man of stature but of few words.
So it is not surprising to hear how he provided the news to his mom. “He called me after the word got out,” she said. “He said he got the appointment. And that was about it. He does not show any emotion. He is not that type.
“A lot of people in Dunmore called with their congratulations.
“I am just sorry his father was not here to see this. It has been a long road.”
The mother of the new Denver Broncos head football coach has four sons, one daughter, 20 grandchildren and two on the way.
One of Fangio’s brothers, Tony, is retired and lives in Colorado Springs just one hour from Denver, Colorado. “He will be close enough to see Vic a lot. I hope to get there to a game myself during the warmer weather.”
Fangio returns to Dunmore occasionally in the off season and gathers with friends often at Ragnacci’s Restaurant in the borough, said his mom.
“His friends are proud of him. He has many of the same friends he always had in Dunmore. I am getting a lot of calls from them.”
Former Dunmore Councilman Paul Nardozzi roots for the New York Giants, but is a huge football fan who knows Fangio and follows his career. “I’ve known him for many years and he is so deserving of that position,” he said. “It took a lot of years of hard work and perserverance. Being from Dunmore, he truly displays Dunmore pride. I am very happy for Vic.”
After playing football and graduating from Dunmore in 1976, Fangio was a defensive coordinator and linebackers coach under Henzes at his alma mater from 1979 to 1981.
He took on a position as defensive coordinator at Milford Academy in Connecticut in 1982.
In 1984, he was defensive assistant for the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars of the USFL.
He received a big break in the NFL coaching ranks when he was named linebackers coach for the New Orleans Saints in 1986, holding the position through 1994.
He was the Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator from 1995 to 1998.
Fangio was the Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator from 1999 to 2001.
He became the Houston Texans defensive coordinator from 2002 to 2005.
Fangio became special assistant to the head coach and defensive assistant for the Baltimore Ravens from 2006 to 2008.
He became the Ravens linebackers coach in 2009.
He became defensive coordinator under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford University in 2010.
He followed Harbaugh to the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 when Harbaugh became head coach there. Fangio served as defensive coordinator under Harbaugh from 2011 to 2014.
The 49ers under the coaching of Harbaugh and Fangio, led the NFL in forced turnovers (36) in 2011.
Fangio was released from his contract shortly after Harbaugh was let go by the 49ers in January of 2015.
Fangio then took over as defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears from 2015 to 2018.
Fangio’s coaching helped the Bears lead the NFL in forced turnovers and interceptions this past year. The Bears were second defensively in yards per play, first in scoring defense and third in total defense.
Fangio, who was interviewed last year for the Bears head coaching position, received much of the credit for Chicago’s defensive resurgence this past season.
He was honored last month by the Pro Football Writers Association as the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.
And now off to Denver as he continues making his mom and Dunmore proud.