San Francisco 49ers Coaches
Kyle Shanahan was named the 20th head coach of the San Francisco 49ers on February 6, 2017, after spending the previous two seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons.
During his second season at the helm of the 49ers, the 2018 team overcame adversity early in the season after top free agent acquisition RB Jerick McKinnon tore his ACL prior to Week 1 and starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 3, putting an end to both of their seasons. Despite the setback, Shanahan, his coaches and the young core of the team stepped up to the challenge and endured the ups and downs of the season. Second-year TE George Kittle set an NFL record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season (1,377) while recording the most yards after catch by any player in the NFL since 2010 (870). Kittle earned Second-Team All-Pro honors, as well as his first Pro Bowl selection, after his historic season. Following injuries to both Garoppolo and QB C.J. Beathard, undrafted QB Nick Mullens was able to fill the void and excel for San Francisco’s offense after being promoted to the active roster from the team’s practice squad on September 26. Mullens started the final eight games of the season and accumulated the fourth-most passing yards by a quarterback in his first eight career games since 1970 (Patrick Mahomes, KC; Andrew Luck, Ind.; Cam Newton, Car.). On the defensive side of the ball, DL DeForest Buckner earned his first Pro Bowl appearance after leading the pass rushing unit with a career-high 12.0 sacks, which was the second-most among NFL DTs and the fourth-most by a member of the 49ers since 2000.
Special Teams Coordinator
Richard Hightower is in his 13th season in the NFL and third as the 49ers special teams coordinator. He returned to San Francisco in 2017 after previously serving as assistant special teams coach with the team in 2015.
From 2017-18, the 49ers kicking unit ranked first in the NFL in field goal percentage (96.0) and second with 72 made field goals (LAR – 74). In addition, San Francisco’s punt coverage ranked second over that timespan, holding opponent punt returns to an average of 5.7 yards per return (Ind. – 4.3).
Under Hightower’s tutelage in 2018, San Francisco’s special teams units flourished. K Robbie Gould set the 49ers single-season franchise record for field goal percentage (97.1) as he connected on 33 of 34 field goal attempts and finished the season with 126 points. He also set the franchise record for most consecutive field goals made (33) and finished the season connecting on each of his final 23 attempts. Gould was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for December and was a two-time recipient of the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week Award (Week 2 & 15). Rookie WR Richie James Jr. was named All-NFC kick returner by the PFWA as he averaged 25.2 yards per kickoff return, which ranked seventh in the NFL. James Jr. also registered the team’s first kickoff return for a touchdown (97 yards) since 2011.
Passing Game Coordinator
Mike LaFleur is in his third season with the 49ers and second as the team’s passing game coordinator. He previously served as the team’s wide receivers/passing game coordinator in 2018 and wide receivers/passing game specialist in 2017.
In 2018, TE George Kittle was named Second-Team All-Pro and selected to the Pro Bowl in only his second season as he led the team with 88 receptions for 1,377 yards and five touchdowns, setting the NFL record for the most receiving yards in a single season by a tight end. Kittle also became the first tight end in franchise history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. His 88 receptions also set the franchise record for the most receptions by a tight end in a single season. WR Kendrick Bourne led the receiving corps with career-highs in receptions (42), receiving yards (487) and touchdowns (four). Rookie WR Dante Pettis registered 27 receptions for 467 yards and five touchdowns, as his five touchdown receptions were the most by a 49ers rookie since RB Jimmy Thomas notched five touchdown receptions in 1969, and were tied for the second-most by a rookie in franchise history. WR Marquise Goodwin recorded 23 receptions for 395 yards and a career-high four touchdowns.
Run Game Coordinator
Mike McDaniel is in his third season with the 49ers and second as the run game coordinator. He previously served as the team’s run game specialist in 2017.
In 2018, while working with running backs coach Robert Turner Jr., McDaniel helped guide the 49ers ground game as the team rushed for 1,902 yards and seven touchdowns on 423 carries. San Francisco’s 118.9 rushing yards per game ranked 13th in the NFL and seventh in the NFC in 2018. RB Matt Breida led the team with 153 carries for 814 yards (5.3 average) and three touchdowns. His 5.3 average yards per carry ranked fourth in the NFL in 2018 and was the highest rushing average by a 49ers running back (minimum 100 carries) since 2006 (RB Frank Gore – 5.4 average). Additionally, FB Kyle Juszczyk earned Pro Bowl honors for the third consecutive season.
Robert Saleh (SAH-luh) is in his 15th NFL season and third as the 49ers defensive coordinator.
In 2018, the 49ers defense registered 37.0 sacks, the most by the team in a single-season since 2013 (38.0 sacks). The defense ranked in the top half of the league in rushing yards per play (4.09 – seventh), opponent completion percentage (63.5 – 10th), yards per play allowed (5.42 – 11th), net passing yards per game allowed (233.3 – 11th), yards per game allowed (346.6 – 13th), rushing yards per game allowed (113.4 – 14th) and passing yards per play (6.45 – 14th). San Francisco was one of six teams (Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts & New England Patriots) to allow fewer net yards per game, rushing yards per game and passing yards per game than in 2017.
Tight Ends/Assistant Head Coach
Jon Embree is in his third season as the 49ers assistant head coach/tight ends coach.
In 2018, TE George Kittle was named Second-Team All-Pro and selected to the Pro Bowl in only his second season as he led the team with 88 receptions for 1,377 yards and five touchdowns, setting the NFL record for the most receiving yards in a single season by a tight end. Kittle also became the first tight end in franchise history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. His 88 receptions also set the franchise record for the most receptions by a tight end in a single season.