Mike Shanahan

Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan always wanted to coach football with his father. But, first, he knew he had to prove himself without any boost from his well-known dad.

Once the son established himself as one of the NFL’s respected offensive minds, the Shanahans teamed up for four up-but-mostly-down seasons with Washington.

Mike, the two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach, hired his son to serve as his top offensive assistant in 2010.

“I thought we saw football similar, but we quickly realized after a few weeks that we saw it differently,” Kyle Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area in February. “We grew together. He gave me a lot of leeway while I was there. It was fun to try a bunch of different things, having to even incorporate the zone read when we got Robert (Griffin).

“We did our deal in Washington, and I wouldn’t take that back for the world, but that was pretty much the end of it.”

Kyle Shanahan broke into the coaching ranks under Karl Dorrell at UCLA. He moved onto the NFL to work with Jon Gruden on the staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Gary Kubiak with the Houston Texans. But nothing prepared him for the scrutiny he would face as offensive coordinator under his father.

Kyle Shanahan adjusted the Washington offense to take advantage of Griffin’s skills as a dual-threat quarterback as a rookie 2012. The club qualified for the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

But things blew up the following season as the Mike Shanahan-Griffin relationship soured. Shanahan and eight assistant coaches, including Kyle, were fired the morning after Washington’s 3-13 season concluded.

Mike Shanahan has remained out of coaching, though he was a finalist for the 49ers’ head-coaching job after the 2015 season. The 49ers hired Chip Kelly.

Kyle Shanahan rebuilt his career with one season as offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns and two successful seasons with the Atlanta Falcons to enable him to become CEO Jed York’s choice to replace Kelly.

There is no official role for Mike Shanahan, 64, on his son’s staff with the 49ers. But the father has attended several of the team’s practices this offseason, including both days of the 49ers’ mandatory minicamp this week. Mike has been issued his own iPad that gives him access to the 49ers playbook and coach's film. He will likely visit for an extended stay during training camp. But Kyle said he believes his dad will mostly remain home -- only a phone call away -- during the regular season.

“He’s enjoying life right now,” said Kyle, 37. “He’s got a pretty good deal in Denver, where he lives. He can help me out in other ways anyways without having to be here every day.”

Mike Shanahan does not need to be in the building every day to counsel and have influence on his son as he tries to navigate his first season as the head coach while also maintaining the responsibilities of running the team’s offense.

“You’re going 1,000 miles an hour,” Kyle Shanahan said. “Sometimes to see everything you’ve got to really slow things down and take your time to look at stuff and you don’t always have that time as a head coach.

“It’s nice when someone you know who thinks similar to you has a similar background and he just sits in a room all day and watches stuff. He doesn’t have any other responsibilities. He can see some things that I’m not always seeing and just to bring things to light that maybe I missed or other people have missed.”

Mike Shanahan was a successful NFL offensive coordinator for seven seasons. He won a Super Bowl on George Seifert’s staff with the 49ers in January 1995. His dad believes his time around the 49ers has a lasting impact.

“When I was with San Francisco, Kyle was at the 49ers training camps in Rocklin,” Mike Shanahan told Fangirl Sports Network. “He stayed with me at camp and we talked about football every night.

“He had the opportunity to experience an organization that had won four Super Bowls in nine years. He also had the opportunity to be around some great people and leaders. He still tells stories and talks about people like Steve Young, Joe Montana, Harris Barton, Tom Rathman, Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Deion Sanders, and many others. What a great experience to see how these men handled themselves on and off the field.”

The Denver Broncos hired him to become head coach shortly after the 49ers’ 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. Shanahan went on to win two Super Bowls in his 14 seasons with the Broncos.

Kyle Shanahan was a wide receiver at Duke before finishing college at Texas, where he caught 14 passes for 127 yards in two seasons. He figured he would have a career in football and it would not be as a player.

“I’ve wanted to coach my whole life,” Kyle Shanahan said. “This is all I’ve known, just growing up around football. It’s almost all I’ve been into, too. Since I was little, it’s distracted me from everything I’ve done, especially school. I always tried to tell my mom, ‘Just be patient, it’ll play out for us in the long run.’ Fortunately, it did.

“Once I realized my genes were a little bit better as a coach than as a player, I pretty much locked into that – and that was about halfway through college. I haven’t looked back.”

During his short time with the 49ers, players on both sides of the ball have expressed amazement at how knowledgeable Kyle Shanahan is about the game of football. His dad told Fangirl Sports Network to succeed as a head coach he must always be dedicated to stuyding, learning and teaching the sport.

“He loves the game and knows it inside and out,” Mike Shanahan said. “My advice to him is to never lose the drive to study the game as he’s done over the last 13 years. To stay in the NFL as a head coach and have success for any length of time, you must never lose your drive to teach and stay abreast of what the top teams are doing every year: offense, defense, special teams. You must be able to coach all positions to really understand the whole game.”

Former 49ers president Carmen Policy said he remembers young Kyle serving as a ball boy during 49ers training camp in the early 1990s. Policy, who remains close to Mike Shanahan, has followed Kyle’s rise in the coaching ranks while playfully questioning the sanity of the family business.

Said Policy: “I used to tease Mike, ‘What kind of father are you to let your kid go into coaching?’ I said, ‘You should be charged with dereliction of parental duty.’ And he’d laugh and say, ‘Yeah, I tried talking to him and then my wife tried talking to him, but that’s his passion, and that’s what he wants to do, so I’m not going to dissuade him from it.’

“And, then, look at what happened. Here he is. He’s the head coach of the 49ers, and that’s just incredible.”

Kyle Shanahan does not anticipate his dad joining him with 49ers

Kyle Shanahan does not anticipate his dad joining him with 49ers

HOUSTON -- Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan does not anticipate working with his Super Bowl-winning father in the future.

Shanahan, 37 the presumptive 49ers head coach, all but ruled out the possibility his dad, Mike Shanahan, 64, who won two Super Bowls as head coach of the Denver Broncos, will be joining the 49ers with him.

“We did our deal in Washington and I wouldn’t take that back for the world, but that was pretty much the end of it,” Shanahan answered Monday night when CSNBayArea.com asked him about the possibility of working with his father again.

The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan until after the Falcons’ season comes to an end Sunday in Super Bowl 51 against the New England Patriots.

Kyle Shanahan served four seasons as his dad’s offensive coordinator when the men worked together in Washington from 2010 to ’13. Mike Shanahan was fired after Washington compiled a 24-40 record in four seasons.

Kyle Shanahan spent one season with the Cleveland Browns before joining Dan Quinn’s staff with the Atlanta Falcons last season. Shanahan was named NFL Assistant Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America after guiding the Falcons to the No. 1-ranked offense in the league.

“I always anticipate asking my dad for advice and stuff like that, just like anybody would in their profession if their dad had done the same thing and been successful at it,” Shanahan said. “But as far as him working in the building and doing stuff like that, that’s definitely not been in the discussions. My dad’s basically retired.”

 

49ers Mailbag: A Shanahan-Shanahan show?

49ers Mailbag: A Shanahan-Shanahan show?

The outcome of the Atlanta Falcons’ NFC Championship game on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers will determine how quickly the 49ers can move in securing Kyle Shanahan as the team’s next head coach.

If the Falcons lose, the 49ers will have a second meeting with Shanahan early in the week, during which team executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe would be expected to finalize the deal.

But if the Falcons win and advance to the Super Bowl, the early part of Shanahan’s week would be spent game-planning and preparing to face the AFC representative. The second interview with the 49ers would be scheduled for Friday.

Shanahan is also expected to be involved in the 49ers’ hiring of the general manager.

Now, let’s dip into our 49ers Mailbag to answer some questions posted on our Facebook page:

Q: Do you think Mike Shanahan will have any role in the team?‬ (Robert Allen Swenor)
A: Mike Shanahan, of course, is the father of presumptive 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Aside from that, it does not appear as if Mike will have an official role with the club.

A question that must be asked is this: Does Kyle Shanahan benefit from having his father in the building? The answer is, probably not.

Of course, this is not to say the elder Shanahan will not have some level of influence with the 49ers.

If the 49ers close the deal with Kyle Shanahan, as both sides expect right now, Mike Shanahan will undoubtedly be a valuable resource to his son. I’m sure Mike Shanahan will attend some practices in training camp and during the regular season. He will always serve as a mentor to his son.

Q: Do you think that the 49ers are going after particular D-coordinators based on their own desires or are they quietly doing it on behalf of Shanahan's request?‬ (Eddie SF Torres)
A: Whenever someone interviews for a head-coaching position, that individual presents a wish list of the assistants he plans to pursue to join his staff.

The 49ers have gone after Vic Fangio and Gus Bradley to serve as the defensive coordinator on the next staff. The Chicago Bears declined to allow Fangio the opportunity to leave. Bradley decided on joining the Los Angeles Chargers instead of the 49ers or Washington.

The 49ers feel confident Shanahan will become their next coach. It's also safe to assume Shanahan expressed his wishes at defensive coordinator – and, perhaps, other coaching positions on his future staff.

Q: Should the team draft a QB or get a free agent?‬ (Greg Luthy)
A: Both.

One of the interesting things about both of the two serious head-coach candidates is each lined up neatly with a quarterback. In the case of Josh McDaniels, it was easy to connect the dots on a possible trade for New England backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Obviously, Kirk Cousins is the quarterback who could be available for the 49ers to add with Shanahan in charge. Shanahan coached Cousins for two seasons with Washington, during which he made just four starts.

Cousins has emerged in the past two seasons. He made $20 million last year on the franchise tag. And he would make at least $24 million this season under the same tag.

If Washington places the exclusive franchise tag on Cousins at a higher one-year price, he would be completely off the market. But, otherwise, there would be room for the 49ers to sign him at the cost of two first-round draft picks or negotiate a trade with Washington.

It seems obvious the 49ers would at least inquire about the chances to acquiring Cousins.

So, back to the original question, expect the 49ers to add a veteran quarterback or two in the weeks after the beginning of the new league year on March 9.

Then, seven weeks later, there’s the NFL Draft. Which veteran quarterback(s) the 49ers acquire will determine their needs in the draft.

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