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Colts name Chuck Pagano as head coach

(Reuters) - The Indianapolis Colts named former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano as their new head coach, the National Football League (NFL) team said on Wednesday.

The Colts, who fired head coach Jim Caldwell last week after finishing tied with the NFL's worst record for the 2011 season, will hold a 3 p.m. ET (2000 GMT) news conference on Thursday to formally announce Pagano as coach.

Pagano, 51, joined the Ravens in 2008 and spent his first three seasons as the team's defensive secondary coach before being named defensive coordinator for the 2011 season.

Under Pagano, the Ravens had the NFL's third best defense in terms of fewest yards allowed in 2011 after finishing 10th in that category the previous season.

The decision to name Pagano as head coach is the latest key move since the once-proud Colts franchise tumbled to a 2-14 record in a season played entirely without injured, 11-time Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning.

A day after the regular season ended on January 1, the Colts promptly fired Vice Chairman Bill Polian and General Manager Chris Polian, followed by the decision to cut ties with Caldwell after three seasons in charge.

Manning's neck surgery forced him to miss the entire 2011 campaign and has clouded his future with the team since their losing record awarded them the top pick in April's draft, where Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is pegged as the top choice.

(Reporting By Gene Cherry in Salvo North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)