When the 49ers retained Geep Chryst on their coaching staff two weeks ago, they didn’t give him a title because they weren’t sure of the role he will fill on Jim Tomsula’s still-evolving staff. It now appears as if that role and title will be a big one: offensive coordinator.
The NFL Network on Wednesday reported that Chryst is expected to be the team’s primary play-caller in 2015. The 49ers have not announced any of their hires; an official announcement is expected next week.
Chryst’s promotion to offensive coordinator comes as little surprise after the 49ers and Tomsula, the team’s new head coach, were unable to reel in their top targets for the job.
Adam Gase, whom the team passed over for head coach, became the Chicago Bears’ offensive coordinator instead. Rob Chudzinski accepted a promotion with the Indianapolis Colts. Another possibility, Eagles receivers coach Bob Bicknell, will remain in Philadelphia.
That leaves Chryst, who has had some play-calling duties over the past four years when he served as the team’s quarterbacks coach. His most famous one was the so-called “Vernon post” in which tight end Vernon Davis caught a game-winning touchdown against the New Orleans Saints with seconds to play in the 2011 divisional playoffs.
The Bears had asked to interview Chryst for their offensive coordinator opening; the Raiders also had shown interest in Chryst.
In December, Chryst’s brother Paul was named the coach at the University of Wisconsin. Another brother, Rick, is the former commissioner of the Mid-American Conference. Geep Chryst’s son, Keller, will be a freshman quarterback at Stanford next season.
Chryst, who played linebacker at Princeton, mostly served as a quarterbacks coach or tight ends coach in the NFL. From 1999 to 2000, however, he was San Diego’s offensive coordinator under coach Mike Riley
The Chargers went 8-8 in 1999 but were historically bad the following season. They finished 1-15, and with a running back crew that featured lightly regarded tailbacks Jermaine Fazande and Terrell Fletcher, Chryst’s offense finished with just 1,062 rushing yards. That ranked last in the league and at that time was the lowest rushing output of any NFL team ever in a 16-game season. Former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who was a backup quarterback for the Chargers that season, accounted for 24 of those yards.
Meanwhile, Steve Logan will take Chryst’s spot as quarterbacks coach.
Logan, 61, was a longtime coach at East Carolina University, where he worked with soon-to-be NFL passers such as Jeff Blake and David Garrard. He also served as Tomsula’s offensive coordinator with the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe in 2006.
WRAL-TV in North Carolina, where Logan has worked as a football analyst in recent years, quoted him as saying he looked forward to working with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. “He’s my kind of guy – mobile, accurate and smart,” Logan said.
Logan has been out of coaching for the past three years. He most recently served as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers running backs coach.
“Jim Tomsula is one guy who I would open this can of worms back up for,” Logan told the station.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.