Kyle Shanahan Reflects on time with Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel Wednesday

Nov 30, 2022, 5:30 PM | Updated: Dec 1, 2022, 7:58 am
Dante Pettis #18 and Run Game Coordinator Mike McDaniel of the San Francisco 49ers talk on the fiel...
SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 23: Dante Pettis #18 and Run Game Coordinator Mike McDaniel of the San Francisco 49ers talk on the field prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Levi's Stadium on December 23, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. The Bears defeated the 49ers 14-9. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

It’s been less than a year since Mike McDaniel left San Francisco for South Beach, but Kyle Shanahan has taken notice of what his former protégé is doing in Florida.

In the buildup to Week 13’s clash with the Miami Dolphins, the 49ers head coach was asked to reflect on his long history with McDaniel, spanning back 16 years to when both men were under former head coach Gary Kubiak as members of the Houston Texans in 2008.

“At first, I didn’t know him at all,” Shanahan explained to the media Wednesday. “Kubiak put him in my office and that’s how it starts, but we were both young guys and I’d done college and had been in the league a little bit longer and he was just really hungry and he was a lot more educated in terms of he went to Yale and I went to some good schools, but it was for sports, so he was very like well-read and typing everything up and I was so much football and he just soaked everything in, memorized everything.”

That ability to soak in knowledge has always been apparent to Shanahan. The real question was how he would do in day-to-day interactions.

Known as a quirky guy to say the least, McDaniel’s personality takes some getting used to, according to his former head coach. But once you get to know him, he’s a real treat to speak with.

That’s Mike’s personality,” Shanahan stated with a grin. “I never knew how he would do in those press conferences or how he’d come off, that’s how he is all the time to us, even a little bit worse probably. And it’s an acquired taste sometimes or sometimes it throws people off a little bit, but I thought he put it together real good and did in a funny way and is always entertaining in those press conferences.”

Sometimes it’s easy to play the cards close to the chest in your first year leading a franchise. That’s not Mike McDaniel. Everyday he’s in the Dolphins’ building, the 39-year-old is the same person he’s aways been: Quirky, random, entertaining and loves football to his core. Not every coach chooses to be themselves from the jump, but that’s something Shanahan has loved about his former assistant so far.

“It’s about being yourself,” Shanahan continued. “If things are going well and your personalities is yourself, then it’s really good. If things are going bad and your personality’s like that, then it might annoy some people or it might say, oh no, they’re too lackadaisical, so it’s more about coaching, right, putting the plan together and being honest with everybody and being yourself. Then you don’t deviate and the reasons are what happened on the field. When you start getting into that being because of people’s personalities, I think that’s a little farfetched. I think a lot of other variables come into that and that’s just a bonus.”

The two powerhouse football minds will face off for the first time against one another Sunday at 1:05 p.m. PST.


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