As the 49ers’ coaching search entered its second week Monday, a new name – an older one – was added to the list: Tom Coughlin.
FoxSports reported the 49ers asked permission to interview the former New York Giants coach. Coughlin, 69, resigned last week following a 6-10 season that included a win over the 49ers.
The Giants still control his rights, which prompted the 49ers to seek permission. A league source said no interview had been set up but it could potentially happen in Houston, where the league’s owners are congregating this week to discuss which teams may head to Los Angeles.
The 49ers’ first choice to replace Jim Tomsula is believed to be Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who interviewed with the Cleveland Browns and also might meet with the Giants. On Monday, a national report said Cleveland was prepared to make a “big push” to land Jackson, 50. The 49ers’ interest in Coughlin could be a signal to Jackson they have other options, too.
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The 49ers have met with Browns assistant John DeFilippo, former Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and Buffalo Bills running backs coach Anthony Lynn.
Coughlin not only has two Super Bowl titles on his résumé, he has a connection to Bill Parcells, a mentor and adviser to 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. Parcells coached the New York Jets when Baalke began working as a scout for them in 1998. Parcells coached the Giants when Coughlin started working for them as a receivers coach in the 1980s.
Coughlin interviewed for the Eagles’ opening Monday, and Parcells went on radio in Philadelphia last week to endorse his protégé.
“I know guys Tom Coughlin’s age who know a whole lot more about football than some of the 30-year-olds who are coaching it,” Parcells said when asked if Coughlin would be a good fit for the Eagles. “Tom isn’t just a good friend, but I have experience coaching with him that goes back a long time. I think his record pretty much speaks for itself.”
Coughlin has been a head coach at Boston College (1991-93) and with the Jacksonville Jaguars (1995-2002) and Giants (2004-15).
The Giants reached the playoffs five times under Coughlin and won the Super Bowl in the 2007 and 2011 seasons. They reached their most recent Super Bowl by beating the 49ers in overtime for the NFC championship. Coughlin also made the playoffs four times, including two trips to the AFC Championship Game, with the expansion Jaguars.
Coughlin, a strict, no-nonsense coach who early in his career was known as “Colonel Coughlin,” seemed on the verge of losing his job in New York at several points during his tenure. But he typically responded with an excellent season.
The 49ers have been wary of other older candidates. Onetime 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren, 67, openly has campaigned for the job but has not received an interview the past two seasons. Another former assistant, Mike Shanahan, 63, interviewed last year but has not met with the team this year.
Coughlin showed plenty of fire in his farewell news conference last week, insisting his desire to be a coach has not been extinguished and hanging out around the house is not an option.
“My wife will not want me to be home longer than probably 48 hours,” he said. “ ‘There is your coat; don’t you have someplace to go?’ ”