Pagano has been around the block when it comes to teaching defensive philosophies to young football players. He started as a Graduate Assistant (GA) when he was 24 years old and has run the gambit all the way to becoming the Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts. See below for the positions he's had as well as the destinations for which he honed his craft:
1984-85 - GA - USC (California)
1986 - GA - Miami
1987-88 - Linebackers - Boise State
1989 - Secondary - ECU
1990-91 - Secondary then Defensive Coordinator - UNLV
1992-94 - Secondary and Linebackers - ECU
1995-2000 - Secondary - Miami
2001 - 04 - Secondary - Cleveland Browns
2005-06 - Secondary - Oakland Raiders
2007 - Defensive Coordinator - North Carolina
2008-11 - Secondary and then Defensive Coordinator - Baltimore Ravens
2012 - PRESENT - Head Coach - Indianapolis Colts
In A Nutshell: Yes, Pagano has been around the block but that's the life of the industry, especially when you're a position coach. The nuggets to take away from the above is that yes, he's coached at Miami on multiple occasions, he's called defenses and made game plans for Saturdays/Sundays and he also coached under revered former Miami Head Coach Butch Davis on multiple occasions (see bolded highlights above).
The reason why he's being included in the possible coaching candidates for the vacant position at Miami is because the Colts are imploding this season and unfortunately it doesn't look like the situation will be getting better when it comes to the 2015-2016 season. After relieving Pep Hamilton, the former Offensive Coordinator of his duties last week it looks like Chuck maybe on the outs.
Knows how to prepare a defense at the College Level. When it comes to finding, developing and putting talent in a position to win, Pagano is your man. He oversaw the Miami secondary when they solidified themselves as #DBU and many of those players went on to play at a very high level for a prolonged period of time in the NFL (Ed Reed, Antrel Rolle, Sean Taylor, Phillip Buchanon, etc.).
Has coached in the Pro's Since 2001. If you take out the one year as the Defensive Coordinator at UNC, Pagano has led defenses at the professional level for over a decade. Being able to put his preparation skills and game planning skills to the test at the college level could be exciting for a team in desperate need of a defensive reinvigoration on that front like the Canes desperately need.
At 55, age could be a deterrent. He's not the oldest candidate for the position but he's also not the youngest either.
Not the sexiest of hires. This hire, assuming he is fired by the Colts would be a reach purely back to the Butch Davis era for the hope of a spark to the program. In my opinion, this hire would translate roughly to "Miami didn't want to/couldn't bring back Davis (maybe he's already been hired by someone at this point?) so we went with the next best option."
Positive and a Negative: Recruiting
The positive for Pagano is that he has coached at the University before when they were going through NCAA sanctions and came out the other side with sterling results for the program. He can also put on his National Title ring when he has an in-home visit with a recruit. Lastly, he can also bring up the fact that his time in the pro's can help him get said recruit there as well.
The main negative I see with Pagano is that although he has coached at Miami previously he doesn't exactly have the strongest local ties to the area, per se. The fact of the matter is, he'll have to bring in or keep some of the staff on hand currently that know the area, know the local coaches and recruits to reestablish his South Florida ties. Is this a huge issue? Not particularly but it is something to note.
Overall, I think Pagano could do well at Miami, even thrive. Is he the sexy selection? The type of coaching hire that can reinvigorate a program to sell more tickets and get donors back on board immediately after his hire? To me, I don't see it. I think he could be a good hire that maybe rights the ship and brings back the Miami defense of old but the hire wouldn't move the needle for me in terms of excitement, at least not initially.