San Francisco 49ers

49ers search: Austin interviews, two Shanahans linked to S.F.

Kyle Shanahan, shown here as offensive coordinator in Washington, is looking for work after being released by Cleveland.
Kyle Shanahan, shown here as offensive coordinator in Washington, is looking for work after being released by Cleveland. AP

The 49ers’ coaching search reached Day 10 on Thursday. And while they are not close to selecting a candidate, they appear to be reaching the end of their interviews.

On Thursday the team’s search committee – composed of CEO Jed York, general manager Trent Baalke and president Paraag Marathe – met with Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and on Friday will interview Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. On Dec. 29, Baalke said he expected the interview process to take seven to 10 days.

Also on Thursday, the Cleveland Browns released offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan from his contract. He had an interview with the Buffalo Bills for their head coach opening, and he also has been linked – in two ways – to the 49ers.

A league source said Shanahan would be on Vic Fangio’s list of offensive coordinators should Fangio, the 49ers’ current defensive coordinator, be tapped for San Francisco’s head coaching opening. Fangio was the first to interview with the 49ers, having done so Dec. 30. The source said that in addition to Shanahan, Fangio had several candidates to run his offense but declined to divulge those names.

Shanahan, of course, also could work for his father, Mike Shanahan, if he got the job in San Francisco. The older Shanahan, who has coached the Raiders, Denver Broncos and in Washington and who served as the 49ers’ offensive coordinator from 1992 to 1994, interviewed on Jan. 1 in Denver.

Kyle Shanahan has said in the past that he’d like to forge his own path independent of his father. Still, the 49ers job is considered one of the better openings for an offensive coordinator. Kyle Shanahan was his father’s offensive coordinator in Washington. He also got high marks for running the Browns’ depleted offense last year, including from veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer.

Fangio is currently under contract for the 2015 season. However, he’d likely bolt if he’s passed over in favor of another defensive-minded candidate. It’s not known whether he’d remain if Mike Shanahan is named head coach.

Another internal candidate, defensive-line coach Jim Tomsula, has not had a formal interview. If Fangio becomes head coach, he’d likely promote defensive backs coach Ed Donatell to defensive coordinator.

Donatell has held that post with the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers. He interviewed Wednesday for the defensive coordinator opening in Washington. Wade Phillips, however, is considered the favorite for that job.

The 49ers’ assistant defensive backs coach, Greg Jackson, has accepted a job with Jim Harbaugh at the University of Michigan. Jackson came to the 49ers in 2011 after Harbaugh was hired.

Another longtime Harbaugh assistant, offensive coordinator Greg Roman, has been linked to openings in Tampa Bay, Buffalo and Jacksonville and will not be back with the 49ers. However, the Buccaneers on Thursday hired former Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to run their offense in 2015.

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