Former 49ers All-Pro safety Merton Hanks, who spent the past 13 seasons with the NFL, was named Senior Associate Commissioner of the Conference USA on Thursday.
“I am thrilled to be joining Conference USA,” Hanks in a statement. “The dynamic vision of Commissioner (Judy) MacLeod, the passionate conference staff and clear commitment to serving the student athlete make for a great fit.”
Hanks, 48, will be responsible for the conference’s football and baseball operations, including officiating, scheduling, game operations, player conduct and safety and more. He will also oversee the league's public affairs activities, including media, public and community relations, according to Conference USA.
“We are very excited to welcome Merton to our senior management team,” MacLeod said. “The qualities, experiences, skill set and overall perspective he brings will enable him to make an immediate impact and provide meaningful service to our membership.”
Hanks played nine NFL seasons, the first eight of which were with the 49ers from 1991 to ’98. He won a Super Bowl with the 49ers as a starter on the 1994 team. Hanks started 107 games for the 49ers and concluded his career with 33 interceptions. He earned four trips to the Pro Bowl and was named first-team All-Pro in 1995.
Following his playing career, Hanks served in the NFL’s football operations and consumer products department for eight years. Since 2011, Hanks was the NFL’s vice president of football operations and compliance. Included among his duties was determining fines for on-field misconduct of players. His departure from the NFL was reported in April.
Hanks played college football at Iowa. He earned a degree in liberal arts in 1990. Hanks also completed sport administration master’s program at Stanford in 2005 and 2012.
Conference USA consists of 14 schools: Alabama-Birmingham, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice, Southern Mississippi, Texas-El Paso, Texas-San Antonio and Western Kentucky.
Hanks is a native of Dallas. Conference USA headquarters are located in Irving, Texas.