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Coaches And Staff

Ed Donatell
Secondary Coach

BIOGRAPHY

Ed Donatell is in his fourth season with the 49ers as the team’s secondary coach.

Working with assistant secondary coach Greg Jackson, San Francisco’s secondary allowed just 221.0 passing yards per game in 2013, ranking 4th in the NFC and 7th in the NFL. The secondary accounted for 14 interceptions, ranking t-7th in the NFL and t-3rd in the NFC. Rookie S Eric Reid was selected to the Pro Bowl, becoming the first 49ers rookie safety to be selected to the Pro Bowl in franchise history.

Donatell helped guide the 49ers to the best pass defense in the NFC and the fourth-best in the NFL, in 2012, allowing just 200.2 yards per game. That total is the lowest given up by the 49ers since 1997 (165.4 yards per game). The 49ers secondary also boasted two Pro Bowl selections (S Donte Whitner and S Dashon Goldson) and a First-Team All-Pro (Goldson).

In 2011, the 49ers secondary tallied 22 interceptions, which ranked second among all NFL secondaries. Goldson and CB Carlos Rogers each recorded a career-high six interceptions, and were both selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in their careers. Rogers was named a starter in Hawaii, while also being selected Second-Team All-Pro. The defense finished the season ranked fourth in the NFL in percentage of pass attempts intercepted (3.9).

With over three decades of coaching experience, including 22 years in the NFL, Donatell has worked with several of the most highly regarded defensive backs in pro football history, including Ronnie Lott, Steve Atwater, LeRoy Butler, Darren Sharper, Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins.

Donatell most recently served as the secondary coach with the Denver Broncos from 2009-10. Over the course of two seasons with the Broncos, the team ranked seventh in the NFL in opponent completion percentage (58.8) and ninth in passing yards per game (223.7).

Prior to working as the defensive coordinator for the University of Washington in 2008 and a special assistant for the New York Jets in 2007, Donatell served as the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons from 2004-06.

In his first season with Atlanta in 2004, the Falcons advanced to the NFC Championship Game and led the NFL in sacks (48) for the first time in club history. During his final year as the Falcons defensive coordinator in 2006, the club led the NFL in third-down percentage (30.2), while ranking sixth in the league in yards per carry allowed (3.8).

Donatell spent four seasons as Green Bay’s defensive coordinator (2000-03), helping the Packers lead the NFL with 116 takeaways from 2001 to 2003. Green Bay advanced to the playoffs during each of those three seasons, including the 2001 and 2002 campaigns when they won the NFC North title. In 2002, Donatell’s defense set a Green Bay record with 52 sacks and led the NFL with 45 takeaways. That year, Sharper earned his second Pro Bowl selection under Donatell after tying for the NFC lead among safeties with seven interceptions.

In Donatell’s first stint with the Broncos (1995-99) he served as the team’s secondary coach and won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1998 an 1999. The Broncos ranked seventh in the league in both passing yards per game (199.6) and passing yards per attempt allowed (6.5), en route to earning three playoff berths under Donatell. The Broncos also ranked in the top 10 against the pass in four of Donatell’s five seasons as defensive backs coach.

Donatell made his NFL coaching debut as the secondary coach with the New York Jets from 1990-94, where he worked with Lott in the final two seasons of his career.

Prior to making the jump to the NFL, Donatell spent 11 seasons in the collegiate ranks. He served as the defensive backs coach at Cal State Fullerton (1989), the University of Idaho (1986-88) and the University of Pacific (1983-85). He also was a graduate assistant at the University of Washington (1981-82) and Kent State (1979-80).

An all-conference defensive back, team captain and four-year letter winner at Glenville State (WV) University, Donatell received a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1979. He went on to earn a master’s degree in administration from Kent State in 1981. A native of Stow, OH, Donatell is married to his wife Shari, and the couple has three children, Brenna, Thomas and Steven.

Ed Donatell is in his fourth season with the 49ers as the team’s secondary coach.

Working with assistant secondary coach Greg Jackson, San Francisco’s secondary allowed just 221.0 passing yards per game in 2013, ranking 4th in the NFC and 7th in the NFL. The secondary accounted for 14 interceptions, ranking t-7th in the NFL and t-3rd in the NFC. Rookie S Eric Reid was selected to the Pro Bowl, becoming the first 49ers rookie safety to be selected to the Pro Bowl in franchise history.

Donatell helped guide the 49ers to the best pass defense in the NFC and the fourth-best in the NFL, in 2012, allowing just 200.2 yards per game. That total is the lowest given up by the 49ers since 1997 (165.4 yards per game). The 49ers secondary also boasted two Pro Bowl selections (S Donte Whitner and S Dashon Goldson) and a First-Team All-Pro (Goldson).

In 2011, the 49ers secondary tallied 22 interceptions, which ranked second among all NFL secondaries. Goldson and CB Carlos Rogers each recorded a career-high six interceptions, and were both selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in their careers. Rogers was named a starter in Hawaii, while also being selected Second-Team All-Pro. The defense finished the season ranked fourth in the NFL in percentage of pass attempts intercepted (3.9).

With over three decades of coaching experience, including 22 years in the NFL, Donatell has worked with several of the most highly regarded defensive backs in pro football history, including Ronnie Lott, Steve Atwater, LeRoy Butler, Darren Sharper, Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins.

Donatell most recently served as the secondary coach with the Denver Broncos from 2009-10. Over the course of two seasons with the Broncos, the team ranked seventh in the NFL in opponent completion percentage (58.8) and ninth in passing yards per game (223.7).

Prior to working as the defensive coordinator for the University of Washington in 2008 and a special assistant for the New York Jets in 2007, Donatell served as the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons from 2004-06.

In his first season with Atlanta in 2004, the Falcons advanced to the NFC Championship Game and led the NFL in sacks (48) for the first time in club history. During his final year as the Falcons defensive coordinator in 2006, the club led the NFL in third-down percentage (30.2), while ranking sixth in the league in yards per carry allowed (3.8).

Donatell spent four seasons as Green Bay’s defensive coordinator (2000-03), helping the Packers lead the NFL with 116 takeaways from 2001 to 2003. Green Bay advanced to the playoffs during each of those three seasons, including the 2001 and 2002 campaigns when they won the NFC North title. In 2002, Donatell’s defense set a Green Bay record with 52 sacks and led the NFL with 45 takeaways. That year, Sharper earned his second Pro Bowl selection under Donatell after tying for the NFC lead among safeties with seven interceptions.

In Donatell’s first stint with the Broncos (1995-99) he served as the team’s secondary coach and won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1998 an 1999. The Broncos ranked seventh in the league in both passing yards per game (199.6) and passing yards per attempt allowed (6.5), en route to earning three playoff berths under Donatell. The Broncos also ranked in the top 10 against the pass in four of Donatell’s five seasons as defensive backs coach.

Donatell made his NFL coaching debut as the secondary coach with the New York Jets from 1990-94, where he worked with Lott in the final two seasons of his career.

Prior to making the jump to the NFL, Donatell spent 11 seasons in the collegiate ranks. He served as the defensive backs coach at Cal State Fullerton (1989), the University of Idaho (1986-88) and the University of Pacific (1983-85). He also was a graduate assistant at the University of Washington (1981-82) and Kent State (1979-80).

An all-conference defensive back, team captain and four-year letter winner at Glenville State (WV) University, Donatell received a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1979. He went on to earn a master’s degree in administration from Kent State in 1981. A native of Stow, OH, Donatell is married to his wife Shari, and the couple has three children, Brenna, Thomas and Steven.

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