SAN FRANCISCO –- Former 49ers head coach Mike Nolan was interested in becoming Chip Kelly’s defensive coordinator, he told CSNBayArea.com on Friday.
Nolan, who recently stepped down as San Diego Chargers linebackers coach, said Kelly was too far along in the process when he reached out to him. Nolan did not interview for the position. But upon hiring former Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil, Kelly called Nolan as a courtesy to inform him of his decision, Nolan said.
Nolan coached the 49ers from 2005 to 2008. His record was 18-37 before getting fired seven games into the 2008 season.
Many of the players Nolan helped acquire during his tenure, including Frank Gore, Patrick Willis and Justin Smith, played key roles on the 49ers’ three consecutive trips to the NFC Championship game under Jim Harbaugh.