The San Francisco 49ers announced on Tuesday that the team has hired Kris Kocurek (KO-SIR-ick) as defensive line coach. Kocurek replaces Jeff Zgonina, who held the position for each of the previous two seasons (2017-18) with San Francisco.
“Kris has become one of the most respected defensive line coaches in the NFL over the last decade and has a proven track record of helping his players maximize their abilities,” said Head Coach Kyle Shanahan. “When he recently became available, we acted aggressively to add him to our staff because his philosophy, and the style of play he coaches, fits our scheme and personnel very well. We’re excited to get him in the meeting rooms and onto the field with our players.
“I want to thank Jeff for his hard work and dedication to the 49ers over the last two seasons, as his contributions helped to build the foundation of both our defense and team as a whole. He is not only a good football coach, but also a good man, and we wish him the best personally and professionally.”
Kocurek, 40, joins the 49ers after spending the 2018 season as the defensive line coach for the Miami Dolphins.
Prior to Miami, Kocurek spent his first nine years as an NFL coach with the Detroit Lions, first as the team’s assistant defensive line coach in 2009, followed by eight seasons as defensive line coach (2010-17). Before his time in Detroit, Kocurek served as the defensive line coach at Stephen F. Austin State University in 2008, assistant head coach/defensive line coach at West Texas A&M University in 2007 and defensive line coach at Texas A&M University-Commerce in 2006. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Texas Tech University (2003) and Texas A&M University-Kingsville (2004-05).
A native of Rockdale, TX, Kocurek was originally drafted in the seventh-round (237th overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks as a defensive lineman. Following his release from the Seahawks prior to the 2001 season, he was signed to the Tennessee Titans practice squad and was later promoted to the team’s active roster and appeared in one game with Tennessee in 2001 before spending the 2002 season on the Injured Reserve List. Kocurek played collegiately at Texas Tech, where he was a three-time All-Big 12 selection (1998-2000). He was selected team captain and named the team’s defensive player of the year as a senior in 2000.