The 49ers’ head-coaching search is down to two candidates after New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels withdrew from consideration Monday.
McDaniels, 40, has four young children and said it wasn’t the right time to entertain a possible move to the West Coast.
“At this time, it’s just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on the playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out,” he said in a conference call Monday.
A source close to McDaniels who didn’t have authority to speak on the record confirmed that his family situation was the deciding factor.
“It had nothing to do with the Niners. They did everything they could,” the source said.
The 49ers’ finalists for head coach are down to Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, 37, and Seahawks offensive-line coach Tom Cable, 52. Like McDaniels, Shanahan’s squad is still in the playoffs, and the 49ers couldn’t officially hire him until his team exits. Cable could be hired immediately.
The 49ers interviewed Cable on Sunday afternoon. They will talk to two general manager candidates linked to Cable, Seattle’s Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer, on Tuesday. The 49ers’ search team has included CEO Jed York, his top lieutenant, Paraag Marathe, and Brian Hampton, the director of football administration and analytics.
As soon as the coaching search began, McDaniels was high on the 49ers’ target list. They interviewed him in Foxborough, Mass., on Jan. 7, but they were dealt a blow when the general manager candidate they thought could pair with McDaniels, Nick Caserio, did not interview with them on the same weekend.
The 49ers are looking for cohesion between their new head coach and general manager, and McDaniels and Caserio have a chemistry that dates to the early 1990s when they were quarterbacks at John Carroll University.
McDaniels’ withdrawal also appears to be a blow to general manager candidate Louis Riddick. Currently an ESPN analyst, Riddick has a prior relationship with McDaniels and has effusively praised the New England coordinator on television.
It also means that Shanahan is now the likely front-runner in the coaching search. Shanahan’s father, Mike, won back-to-back Super Bowls (1998 and 1999) as the head coach of the Denver Broncos. Mike Shanahan also served as the offensive coordinator on the 49ers’ Super Bowl championship team in 1995.
The 49ers like that Kyle Shanahan’s nine-year stint as an offensive coordinator has included an array of different quarterbacks and that he’s tailored his offense to fit each. The 49ers’ situation at quarterback is murky heading into the 2017 season. The only quarterback currently signed for next season is Colin Kaepernick, who is due to make $15 million next season. The 49ers could cut Kaepernick because of that. He also has the option of getting out of his contract and testing free agency.
A negative for Shanahan: He’s never been a head coach, unlike Cable.
Cable, meanwhile, coached the Raiders for three seasons. His tenure in Oakland, however, was more notable for off-the-field scandal than for the way the Raiders were coached. An ex-wife and ex-girlfriend both accused him of physical abuse. Cable also allegedly broke an assistant’s jaw during a training camp altercation.
Several other coaches the 49ers interviewed for the position took jobs elsewhere. Sean McVay was hired by the Rams, Sean McDermott went to the Bills, and Anthony Lynn was hired by the Chargers.