Report: 49ers request interview with Steve Wilks for DC vacancy

Jan 31, 2023, 2:40 PM
49ers, Interim head coach Steve Wilks of the Carolina Panthers exits the field after the game again...
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 24: Interim head coach Steve Wilks of the Carolina Panthers exits the field after the game against the Detroit Lions at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

As soon as DeMeco Ryans could put pen to paper with the Houston Texans, the 49ers are already eyeing candidates to take his place next season.

The San Francisco 49ers have reported seeked permission from the Carolina Panthers to interview Steve Wilks for their defensive coordinator opening. The news was first reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo Tuesday.

Wilks, 53, served as the defensive passing game coordinator for the Carolina Panthers in the 2022. After Matt Rhule was fired midseason, Wilks was named the interim head coach for the remainder of the regular season. Finishing the year 7-10, Panthers’ owner David Tepper didn’t feel Wilks was the right man for the job, hiring former Colts’ HC Frank Reich to replace him.

Still under contract with Carolina, Wilks may be looking for a different opportunity elsewhere in 2023.

More reports surfaced from CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson that Wilks will indeed talk to the 49ers regarding the defensive coordinator position. Other candidates expected to interview with San Francisco are former DC Vic Fangio and Washington Commanders’ defensive backs coach Chris Harris.

Initial reports indicated that Fangio would be taking the DC role with Mike McDaniel and the Miami Dolphins. But not so fast as Fangio told Mike Silver of the SF Chronicle that no discussion has been made yet on his next landing spot.

Fangio, 64, previously served as the Red & Gold DC under Jim Harbaugh from 2011 to 2014. During his tenure, the 49ers had a record of 44-19-1, making the conference championship, or the Super Bowl, in three of the four seasons in the Bay.

Fangio has long been a supporter of 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan, working with him in Houston during the 2006 season. Getting coaching offers from Atlanta, Carolina and Miami, the defensive specialist will add San Francisco to his list of possible landing spots this offseason.


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Report: 49ers request interview with Steve Wilks for DC vacancy