Confirmed candidates for 49ers head coach
Who will Jed York choose?
The 49ers have started the search for the team’s fourth head coach in four seasons after CEO Jed York fired Chip Kelly following the 49ers ‘ 25-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 1.
The 49ers tied a franchise-low with two victories. The club also established a franchise-worst losing streak of 13 games under Kelly with the only victories coming at the expense of the Los Angeles Rams.
After Jim Harbaugh led the 49ers to three consecutive trips to the NFC Championship Game, including a Super Bowl appearance, the 49ers have gotten worse each of the past three seasons with records of 8-8 in Harbaugh’s final year, 5-11 under Jim Tomsula and 2-14.
Here is a look at the confirmed candidates for the vacancy:
McDaniels, 40, has rebuilt his career after a disastrous stint as head coach of the Broncos that did not even last a full two seasons. He is again a hot candidate after serving the past five seasons as New England’s offensive coordinator under Bill Belichick.
The 49ers interviewed McDaniels for three hours on Saturday, Jan. 7, following Jacksonville and Los Angeles. Any follow-up interviews must wait until the Patriots are eliminated or the week immediately after the championship round, more than a week before the Super Bowl.
McDaniels served as Denver head coach in 2009 and was fired after 12 games in 2010 after his teams compiled an 11-17 record. He returned to the Patriots in 2012.
Shanahan, 37, interviewed with the 49ers on Friday, Jan. 6. He is also a known candidate for the Los Angeles, Jacksonville and Denver jobs after spending the past nine years as an NFL offensive coordinator with Houston, Washington, Cleveland and, for the past two seasons, Atlanta under Dan Quinn.
He is the son of former NFL head coach Mike Shanahan, a two-time Super Bowl-winning coach who interviewed for the 49ers’ head-coaching job last year.
The Falcons, who earned a first-round bye in the playoffs as NFC South champions with an 11-5 record, had the highest-scoring offense in the league at 33.8 points per game. QB Matt Ryan is a legitimate MVP candidate. He had the best season of his nine-year career with 38 TDs and seven interceptions.
Lynn, 48, was the first to interview for the 49ers’ head-coaching vacancy a year ago and he was first to interview again this year. York and Marathe had him first on their busy schedule with an interview on Wednesday.
Lynn returned to Rex Ryan’s staff as assistant head coach/running backs. He was promoted to offensive coordinator early in the season after Greg Roman was fired. Lynn finished the season as interim head coach after Ryan’s firing.
He is a strong candidate to become the permanent head coach of the Bills. The Rams are also in line to interview him about their vacancy. Lynn has 17 seasons of coaching experience following a playing career that included two seasons with the 49ers as a running back.
McVay, 30, Washington’s offensive coordinator for the past three seasons, is on the fast track to becoming a head coach. The 49ers interviewed him on Monday, Jan. 9. He interviewed with Los Angeles on Jan. 5.
McVay is the grandson of former 49ers executive John McVay, who earned all five Super Bowl championship rings in club history and was inducted into the 49ers Hall of Fame in 2013.
Under McVay’s direction, Washington ranked third in the NFL in total offense with 403.4 yards per game and 12th in scoring offense at 24.8 points per game. Quarterback Kirk Cousins ranked third in the NFL with 4,917 passing yards.
Cable, the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive line/assistant head coach, is scheduled to interview with the 49ers on Sunday, Jan. 15 – the day after his team’s divisional round playoff game against Atlanta.
Cable, 52, was 17-27 from 2008 to ’10 as head coach of the Raiders. He served as interim head coach for 12 games after the firing of Lane Kiffin. Cable joined Pete Carroll’s coaching staff in 2011.
Cable’s tenure with the Raiders was marked with controversy. In August 2009, he allegedly punched entry-level assistant Randy Hanson during an altercation at the team’s training camp in Napa. Hanson reportedly sustained a broken jaw.
McDermott, 42, Carolina’s defensive coordinator, is scheduled to interview with the 49ers on Tuesday, Jan. 10. McDermott’s interview is a day after the 49ers meet with Carolina assistant GM Brandon Beane for the GM job. McDermott has already interviewed with Buffalo and San Diego.
McDermott has been on the head-coaching radar for a while. He interviewed with Cleveland and Tampa Bay for their head-coaching openings last year.
McDermott has been the Panthers’ defensive coordinator for six seasons. His defenses ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in four of those seasons. In 2015, the Panthers’ defense ranked sixth in the league during a 15-1 record season and a Super Bowl appearance.
Others in line?
Miami defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, 44, is on the 49ers’ radar, but he is considered a top target for the Denver Broncos’ opening. It remains to be seen whether Joseph will interview with the 49ers.
Jacksonville Jaguars interim head coach Doug Marrone is also attracting some interest. He has interviewed with Jacksonville and Los Angeles. Marrone has head-coaching experience. He opted out of his contract with Buffalo after leading the Bills to 9-7 record in 2014. It was Buffalo’s only winning season since 2004.
Although he has not shown any inclination to leave Stanford in the past, if David Shaw decides he wants to pursue the possibility of an NFL career, he would have to be considered a top candidate for the position.