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Multiple 49ers coaches expected to follow McDaniel, but Fangio could return



© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The last offseason Kyle Shanahan didn’t have to worry about his coaches getting poached, he was just getting his footing with the 49ers.

Interest in Shanny’s coaching staff started after the 2018 season, when Shanahan lost quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello to the Broncos offensive coordinator job. Scangarello has since returned to the 49ers, and his recently-fired former head coach in Denver, Vic Fangio, may join him.

According to Benjamin Allbright, a Denver-based NFL reporter, Fangio has sat down with 49ers general manager John Lynch about joining Kyle Shanahan’s staff in what would likely be an advisory role.

Shanahan has already reportedly brought in veteran and former head coach Anthony Lynn to be the 49ers’ assistant head coach. Fangio, who was the 49ers’ defensive coordinator from 2011-14, would provide another savvy mind.

It’s also a potential setup for if / when DeMeco Ryans leaves for a head coaching position in a year. If he leaves, Fangio could slide into the defensive coordinator role if he wanted it.

Ryans turned down a second interview with the Minnesota Vikings for their top job, reportedly because he wanted to gain more experience and ensure he landed in the right situation.

That preparation might be required given the frequency that Shanahan gets his staff poached.

Mike McDaniel taking the Miami Dolphins job isn’t an isolated departure. As the 49ers opted to move Lynn into the assistant head coach role over tight ends coach Jon Embree, Embree will reprise that role on McDaniel’s staff, per Eric Branch.

He won’t be alone. Per Outkick’s Armando Salguero, wide receivers coach Wes Welker will also join McDaniel’s staff in Miami in the same position.

There are also a couple of reported departures elsewhere. Assistant offensive line coach Butch Barry will reportedly join Nathaniel Hackett’s staff in Denver as the offensive line coach.

Zach Yenser, the 49ers’ other assistant offensive line coach, is expected to become the offensive line coach at the University of Kentucky, per Bruce Feldman.

Oh, and Richard Hightower left for the Bears’ special teams coordinator job, but given the group’s dismal performance last season, that departure won’t exactly be maligned.

Here’s a recap of all the departures from the 49ers’ staff since 2018, when the exoduses began


  • Rich Scangarello: Quarterbacks coach, 49ers (2017-18) —> Offensive coordinator, Denver Broncos (2019)
  • Jeff Hafley: Defensive backs coach, 49ers (2017-18) —> Co-defensive coordinator/defensive backs, Ohio State (2019) —> Head coach, Boston College (2020-21)


  • Joe Woods: Defensive backs coach, 49ers (2019) —> Defensive coordinator, Cleveland Browns (2020-21)
  • Chris Kiffin: Pass rush specialist, 49ers (2018-19) —> D-line coach, Cleveland Browns (2020-21)


  • Robert Saleh: Defensive coordinator, 49ers (2017-20) —> Head coach, New York Jets
  • Mike Lafleur: Passing game coordinator, 49ers (2017-20) —> Offensive coordinator (playcaller), New York Jets
  • John Benton: Offensive line coach, 49ers (2017-20) —> Offensive line coach/run game coordinator, New York Jets
  • Aaron Whitecotton: Assistant defensive line coach, 49ers (2020) —> Defensive line coach, New York Jets
  • Miles Austin: Offensive quality control, 49ers (2019) —> Wide receivers coach, New York Jets
  • Jon “Taylor” Embree: Offensive quality control, 49ers (2017-19), son of TE coach Jon Embree —> Running backs coach, New York Jets


  • Mike McDaniel: Run game specialist (2017), Run game coordinator, 49ers (2017-21) —> Head coach, Miami Dolphins
  • Jon Embree: Assistant head coach/tight ends coach, 49ers (2017-21) —> Assistant head coach/tight ends coach, Miami Dolphins
  • Wes Welker: Wide receivers coach, 49ers, (2019-21) —> Wide receivers coach, Miami Dolphins
  • Richard Hightower: Special teams coordinator, 49ers (2017-21) —> Special teams coordinator, Chicago Bears
  • Butch Barry: Assistant offensive line coach, 49ers (2021) —> Offensive line coach, Denver Broncos
  • Zach Yenser: Assistant offensive line coach, 49ers (2019-21) —> Offensive line coach, University of Kentucky

To recap, Shanahan has now seen two assistants leave for head coaching jobs over the past two years and is almost certain to lose DeMeco Ryans, too. Look to quality control coach Bobby Slowik to be the sort of “next up” assistant in Shanahan’s offense.