The San Francisco 49ers today announced they have named Brad Seely assistant head coach/special teams coordinator and Kevin Tolbert assistant strength and conditioning coach.
Seely, 54, brings 22 years of NFL special teams coaching experience to the 49ers. Most recently, Seely served as the special teams coordinator for the Cleveland Browns from 2009-10 where he worked with WR/KR Joshua Cribbs, who earned Pro Bowl selections in each of the last two seasons. In 2009, Seely led the Browns to a league best special teams ranking according to the formula comprised by Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News. It marked Seely’s fifth top-five finish for his special teams units since 1990.
Prior to joining the Browns, Seely spent 10 seasons as the New England Patriots special teams coach (1999-08), where he was part of three Super Bowl championships. Over the span of his tenure in New England, the Patriots led the NFL in kickoff return average (23.5), were fourth in field goal percentage (83.4%) and ranked eighth in punt return average (9.9). In addition, his units registered 11 returns for touchdowns, including eight on kickoffs, a figure that tied for second in the NFL over that 10-year stretch. Seely also helped produced a total of 3 special teams Pro Bowlers (K Adam Vinatieri - 2004, LB Larry Izzo - 2004 and K Stephen Gostkowski - 2008). He also tutored the AFC’s leading kickoff returner on two occasions (WR Bethel Johnson – 2003 and RB Kevin Faulk - 2002) and leading punt returner (WR Troy Brown - 2002).
Seely worked with the Carolina Panthers from 1995-98, where he helped coach an expansion team to an NFC Championship Game appearance in just its second season. In 1996 and 1997, Panthers kickoff returner Michael Bates became the first player in 35 years to lead the league in kick return average in consecutive seasons, earning two consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl for his efforts. In 1996, Seely earned Special Teams Coach of the Year honors. He also had the league's best kicker, as John Kasay set a then NFL single-season record with 37 field goals. In addition to the success of Bates and Kasay, Carolina also boasted one of the league's top coverage units as the Panthers led the NFL in opponents average punt return (5.4 avg.) and ranked fifth in opponents average kickoff return (20.1 avg.).
Seely began his NFL career in 1989 with the Indianapolis Colts, serving as their special teams/tight ends coach for five years (1989-93). During his time with the Colts, he assisted in the development of two Pro Bowl special teamers, P Rohn Stark and WR Clarence Verdin. In 1992, the Colts had the NFL’s top specials teams unit based on rankings by the Dallas Morning News. Seely then coached the Jets’ special teams for one year (1994), and in that season, New York ranked fifth in the league in kickoff return defense (19.6 avg.) and sixth in punt return defense (6.8 avg.).
Seely’s collegiate coaching career began as an assistant coach at South Dakota State in 1978. He then moved on to become a graduate assistant at Colorado State in 1979, before being named the Rams offensive line coach in 1980. Seely then served as the offensive line coach at Southern Methodist (1981), North Carolina State (1982), University of Pacific (1983) and Oklahoma State (1984-88).
A native of Vinton, IA, Seely earned all-conference honors as an offensive guard at South Dakota State University while majoring in economics and physical education.
Tolbert joins the 49ers after having served under head coach Jim Harbaugh at Stanford from 2009-2010. In 2009, he worked as the assistant strength & conditioning coach for the Cardinal before being promoted to head strength and conditioning coach the following year.
Prior to joining Harbaugh at Stanford, Tolbert worked with the Detroit Lions in 2008 as the team’s assistant strength and conditioning coach. Before making the jump to the NFL, Tolbert spent eight seasons (2001-07) at the University of Michigan as the Wolverines strength & conditioning coach.
Tolbert started his collegiate coaching career with the University of Miami in 1998, serving as the Hurricanes weight training and conditioning coach for three seasons. Tolbert also spent time as a volunteer strength & conditioning coach with the Philadelphia Eagles (1996-97).
A native of Hempstead, NY, Tolbert graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1981 with a bachelors of science degree in physical science. He was a three-year football letterman for the Midshipmen, helping the squad to a pair of bowl appearances.