San Francisco 49ers

Report: Panthers interested in 49ers’ former special teams coordinator

San Francisco 49ers special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey Jr. speaks at a news conference in Santa Clara, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015.
San Francisco 49ers special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey Jr. speaks at a news conference in Santa Clara, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015. AP

SANTA CLARA -- The Panthers are interviewing former 49ers special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey Jr. for a role on their staff, Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reported this morning.

Carolina's current special teams coordinator, Bruce DeHaven, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in May and the Panthers hired an assistant, Russ Purnell, at the time. Purnell recently was let go, and McGaughey is being considered for the assistant's role.

DeHaven, 67, spent three seasons as 49ers special teams coach when Steve Mariucci was the head coach.

"I feel good," he said in the run-up to the Super Bowl. "I don’t really want to talk about it much and a lot of that is because my kids just don’t need to hear me talk about all of this. Toby is a freshman in college and Annie is a sophomore in high school. They don’t need to hear their dad talking about being sick. They see me and I look good so that’s what they need to see."

The Panthers also are interviewing the Buccaneers' Kevin O'Dea for the role.

Under McGaughey, who was in his first season as the 49ers coordinator, the team finished at the bottom end of most special teams rankings, including Rick Gosselin's, in which they finished 27th. Carolina’s finished 30th in the same report. The Panthers had a missed field goal and allowed a Super Bowl record 61-yard punt return in Sunday’s game.

San Francisco’s return game offered very little pop while rookie punter Bradley Pinion was inconsistent. Kicker Phil Dawson, who turned 41 last month, had another strong season and was named the team's MVP. Dawson is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month.

The 49ers hired Derius Swinton to replace McGaughey. Swinton, 30, had been an assistant special teams coach in Chicago but never has been a coordinator.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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