Mike Nolan endorses Terry McDonough for 49ers' GM job

Mike Nolan endorses Terry McDonough for 49ers' GM job

Former 49ers coach Mike Nolan, who hired Scott McCloughan to handle the team’s personnel department in 2005, has a clear top choice for San Francisco’s vacant general manager position.

And one day after writing about Arizona Cardinals vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough on social media and talking about him on KNBR, McDonough has landed on the 49ers’ list of candidates.

The 49ers plan to interview McDonough for the vacant general manager post to replace Trent Baalke, multiple sources told CSNBayArea.com on Tuesday night.

“He was groomed under (Baltimore general manager) Ozzie Newsome and (Baltimore assistant general manager) Eric DeCosta, as well as (Arizona general manager) Steve Keim,” Nolan told CSNBayArea.com on Wednesday morning. “He will follow their example. He will not meddle in coaching. He will focus on getting players.”

More than half of the 49ers' starters from their three consecutive teams that advanced to the NFC Championship Game under coach Jim Harbaugh were acquired under Nolan and McCloughan. Nolan was fired during the 2008 season. McCloughan and the 49ers parted ways just prior to the 2010 draft.

The 49ers hired Nolan after he served three seasons as Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator. Nolan played the key role in hiring McCloughan, who was the Seattle Seahawks director of college scouting. Nolan and McCloughan did not know each other before working together for 3 1/2 seasons.

Nolan overlapped with McDonough for two seasons while both men worked for the Ravens in the early 2000s. Nolan said he has spoken with McDonough on “limited occasions” through the years but has closely followed his career and has spoken to people he trusts who speak highly of McDonough.

Around the league, McDonough is known as fiery and opinionated but universally respected for his ability to evaluate talent.

“He has good people skills and most of all can set his ego aside when it comes to doing what's best,” Nolan said. “In other words, conflict is a good thing as long as there is compromise.”

McDonough completed his fourth season with the Cardinals and his third in his current position, in which he oversees the college and pro personnel departments while assisting on the negotiations of player contracts. He began his career as an intern with the 49ers in 1989.

The 49ers have already interviewed Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst of Green Bay, Minnesota’s George Paton, Carolina’s Brandon Beane, Indianapolis’ Jimmy Raye III and ESPN analyst Louis Riddick. The 49ers are also scheduled to interview Seattle co-directors of player personnel Scott Fitterer and Trent Kirchner.

CEO Jed York and Paraag Marathe, the 49ers’ chief strategy officer and vice president of football operations, are conducting the team’s interviews for the coach and general manager positions. 

"We need to make sure that the head coach and the general manager know each other, have a good understanding for each other," York said last week.

Among the most logical coach pairings with McDonough, according to league sources, would be Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay.

Sources: 49ers plan to interview Cardinals' McDonough this week

Sources: 49ers plan to interview Cardinals' McDonough this week

The 49ers plan on Friday to interview Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough for the club’s vacant general manager position, multiple sources told CSNBayArea.com.

McDonough completed his fourth season with the Cardinals and his third in his current position. He oversees the college and pro personnel departments while assisting with the negotiations of player contracts.

McDonough becomes the ninth known candidate for the job to replace general manager Trent Baalke, who was fired on the weekend of the 49ers’ final game of the regular season.

The 49ers have already interviewed Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst of Green Bay, Minnesota’s George Paton, Carolina’s Brandon Beane, Indianapolis’ Jimmy Raye III and ESPN analyst Louis Riddick. The 49ers are also scheduled to interview Seattle co-directors of player personnel Scott Fitterer and Trent Kirchner.

McDonough is the son of the late Will McDonough, a well-known columnist for The Boston Globe who also worked at CBS Sports and NBC Sports. One brother, Ryan McDonough, is the general manager of the Phoenix Suns. His other brother, Sean McDonough, is the play-by-play announcer of ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

Terry McDonough has worked in NFL scouting for 25 years. He began his career as an intern with the 49ers in 1989.

After working with Barcelona of the World League for three seasons, he took a job as an area scout with the Cleveland Browns in 1992 before moving with the organization to Baltimore in 1996.

He worked as the eastern college supervisor for three seasons under Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome before moving on to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was promoted to Jaguars director of player personnel in 2009.

Earlier this week, longtime Dallas Cowboys executive and current NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt and former 49ers coach Mike Nolan endorsed McDonough as the best general manager candidate available.

49ers interviews
Wednesday, Jan. 4
Buffalo interim head coach Anthony Lynn (coach)

Thursday, Jan. 5
Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf (GM)
Green Bay director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst (GM)

Friday, Jan. 6
Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton (GM)
Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan (coach)

Saturday, Jan. 7
New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (coach)

Sunday, Jan. 8
Indianapolis vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III (GM)

Monday, Jan. 9
Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay (coach)
Carolina assistant general manager Brandon Beane (GM)

Tuesday, Jan. 10
Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott (coach)
ESPN analyst Louis Riddick (GM)

Thursday, Jan. 12
Miami defensive coordinator Vance Joseph (coach)

Friday, Jan. 13
Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough (GM)

Sunday, Jan. 15
Seattle offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable (coach)

Monday, Jan. 16
Seattle co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer (GM)
Seattle co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner (GM)