The 49ers on Saturday interviewed Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter for their head-coaching vacancy, a league source said.
Koetter is believed to be the top candidate for the Buccaneers’ head-coaching job after the club fired Lovie Smith last week. The 49ers did not hear back from the Buccaneers for at least two days after filing their initial request to speak with Koetter last week, a source said.
Koetter became the fourth known candidate to interview with the 49ers for the vacancy that was created when the club fired Jim Tomsula after one season. Tomsula’s 49ers went 5-11 in his only year after replacing Jim Harbaugh last January.
Chip Kelly, Anthony Lynn and John DeFilippo have previously interviewed for the 49ers’ job.
Cincinnati offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, considered a strong candidate for the opening, is scheduled to interview on Sunday in Cincinnati. The Bengals are out of the playoffs with their 18-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday in an AFC wild-card playoff game. After the 49ers' scheduled meeting with Jackson in the morning, the Cleveland Browns are expected to interview him, too.
Koetter, who turns 57 on Feb. 5, fits the profile of an offensive coach with previous head-coaching experience that the 49ers appear to covet. But all of Koetter’s previous head-coaching experience was at the college level.
He was head coach at Boise State for three seasons, including back-to-back seasons of 10-3 and 10-2 in 1999 and 2000 before moving to Arizona State. Koetter’s teams were 40-34 with four bowl appearances in six seasons before he was fired in 2006.
Since 2007, Koetter has served as offensive coordinator with Jacksonville, Atlanta and, last season, with Tampa Bay. In two of Koetter’s final three seasons with Atlanta, his offenses ranked eighth in the NFL in yards per game. Last season, the Buccaneers, with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, ranked fifth in the NFL.
His final season with Jacksonville was 2011, which was Blaine Gabbert’s rookie year. Gabbert is one of three 49ers quarterbacks signed for next season. Colin Kaepernick’s future with the organization is in question due to a $14.3 million price tag for next season. Dylan Thompson, an undrafted free agent who was promoted to the 53-man roster when Kaepernick was placed on injured reserve, is also under contract.