The first of the annual Associated Press awards was announced before the NFL Honors ceremony even began, and the hardware went home with a representative of the red and gold. Former 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, who recently departed for a head coaching position with the Houston Texans, was named the AP Assistant Coach of the Year.
Ryans spent six seasons with San Francisco, beginning as a defensive quality assistant coach, then spending three seasons as linebackers coach and capping it off with two seasons as defensive coordinator. In 2022, Ryans coached San Francisco's defensive unit all the way to the top. The 49ers closed out the regular season as the league's top-ranked defense and were also No. 1 in yards per game allowed (300.6 yards per game allowed), interceptions (20) and points per game allowed (16.3). The 16.3 points allowed per game and 77.7 rushing yards allowed per game (second in the NFL) were the lowest for the 49ers since 2011.
"I love DeMeco. He's one of the best coaches I've ever been around, best people I've ever been around," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "Him and Jamila mean the world to us, and I really wish they weren't going, but it's more than deserved and more than earned. And I think they made the best hire by far that was available because DeMeco is going to be a great one. He already has been."