49ers' search heats up
January 23, 2003
Kevin Lynch, Chronicle Staff Writer
The 49ers are continuing to get defensive about candidates for the head- coaching job. General manager Terry Donahue interviewed 49ers defensive coordinator Jim Mora Jr. Wednesday at Donahue's Southern California home.
"It was very productive," Mora said. "Very enjoyable. We talked about a wide variety of topics."
Mora also interviewed for the Panthers' defensive coordinator job earlier in the week in case things don't work out with the 49ers. Before the week is out, Donahue is expected to talk to Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress, who is the only offensive coach in the running, is scheduled to interview with Donahue on Friday.
In addition, the 49ers also will seek permission from the Jets to talk to their defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Ted Cottrell, according to league sources.
Cottrell is the second African American the 49ers have asked to interview, with Crennel being the first.
Cottrell owns impeccable defensive coordinator credentials. Before being named as the Jets' defensive coordinator in 2001, Cottrell served as Buffalo's coordinator for three seasons, and the Bills finished no lower than sixth during that time.
The Jets finished 24th in overall defense last year.
Cottrell, 55, was taken by the Falcons in the seventh round of the 1969 draft as a linebacker. After two years in the NFL, he finished his career in Canada with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who named as a candidate by Donahue Tuesday, has bowed out. After a conversation with Donahue Wednesday, the 61-year-old Johnson decided to stay in Philadelphia.
Another name that could emerge following the Super Bowl is Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. The 49ers are not allowed under league rules to speak to Kiffin, 62, until his Buccaneers play the Raiders Sunday in Super Bowl XXXVII.
Interest on Kiffin's side might be a question. He signed a new contract with the Bucs last year making him the highest paid assistant coach in the league, at $1 million per.
Kiffin also played for Winnipeg as a defensive end in 1965, seven years prior to Cottrell.
On another front, 49ers defensive line coach Dwaine Board interviewed Monday to be the Seahawks' defensive line coach. Board spent 13 seasons as a 49ers coach and nine as the team's defensive line coach.
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