- In January, the 38-year-old became the first Indian American to serve as a coordinator in the National Football League.
Sean Desai, the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears, is among The Athletic’s second annual ‘NFL 40 Under 40’ list, “a collection of the rising stars in football, the young league and the team power brokers you should know this season.” This January, the 38-year-old became the first Indian American to serve as a coordinator in the National Football League.
“It will be interesting to see if Desai can emulate the success [Chargers coach Brandon] Staley, another Vic Fangio disciple, had in his first year as a coordinator [with the Broncos in 2020] and to learn how much of Fangio’s influence is in Desai’s defensive game plans and play-calling,” wrote Lindsay Jones, who created the list.
Desai joined the Bears in 2013 and spent six seasons as a quality control assistant before being promoted to safeties coach in 2019. This is Desai’s ninth season with the team. As a safeties coach for two seasons, Desai worked with the Bears’ defensive backs and linebackers while also assisting the special teams coaches. In 2019, he helped guide Bears veteran Eddie Jackson to his second-straight Pro Bowl, the all-star game of the NFL. He also worked with safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix during his first season with the Bears, according to his profile on the Bears website. From 2015-18, Desai worked under veteran defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who left the Bears in 2019 to become Broncos coach.
Before joining the Bears, Desai was the running backs coach/special teams coordinator at Boston College. In the 2012 season, Desai also coached Boston College running back Andre Williams, who went on to win the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back a year later. Before his time at Boston College, Desai was the assistant director of football operations at the University of Miami in 2011 after spending five seasons at Temple (2006-10) as a defensive and special teams coach.
In 2010, Desai was Temple’s special teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach. At age 27, he was one of the youngest coordinators in the country. That season, Temple’s special teams ranked second in the nation in kickoff coverage, allowing just 17.4 yards per return. The defense ranked 16th in the nation in both total defense (317.7 yards per game) and scoring defense (19.1 points per game). Temple’s defense also finished 15th in passing yards per game allowed (178.2 yards per game) and their nine passing touchdowns allowed were tied for the second-fewest in the FBS.
At Temple, Desai also served as an adjunct professor in 2009 and 2010, teaching in the masters and doctoral programs in education administration. He earned the nickname “Doc,” because of his doctorate in educational administration, with an emphasis on higher education.
In 2011, Desai joined the University of Miami as the assistant director of football operations.
Desai received his undergraduate degree in philosophy and political science, with a minor in biology, from Boston University in 2004. Desai earned a master’s degree in higher and postsecondary education from Columbia University in 2005.