Big-Name Former Head Coach Named as Possible Replacement for Steve Wilks as Defensive Coordinator

The San Francisco 49ers fired defensive coordinator Steve Wilks after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII.

The 49ers defense blew a fourth quarter lead and were unable to stop Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense from marching down the field to score a touchdown in overtime after the San Francisco offense had taken the lead with a field goal.

For Wilks, it is just the latest in a long series of “one and done stints” with various NFL teams. In 2018, he was hired as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, but was fired after going 3-13 in his first and only season.

In 2019, he was hired as the defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns, but was let go after Kevin Stefanski took over as head coach in 2020.

2021 saw Wilks return to the college ranks as he served as the defensive coordinator at Missouri. In 2022, he returned to the NFL as the defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach of the Carolina Panthers.

Later in that season, he was named interim head coach after Matt Rhule was fired. Despite leading the Panthers to a 6-6 finish, Wilks was not retained.

Instead, he was hired by Kyle Shanahan to be the defensive coordinator of the 49ers. While his defense was obviously good enough to help the team reach the Super Bowl, it was not good enough to win. As a result, he is out of a job once again.

One of the disadvantages of being a Super Bowl team is that if a coach is fired or leaves for any other reason, most of the hottest names and the best candidates are already off the market.

Fortunately for the 49ers, there is one big-name coach that is still available: former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrable.

Vrable is currently planning on spending some time with his former college roommate Luke Fickell, who is the head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers.

While Vrable does not yet have any official obligations to Wisconsin, it is believed that Fickell is interested in finding a place for him on staff. Whether or not Vrable would consider a lower-level collegiate job is not yet known.



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