SANTA CLARA (CBS / AP) — Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott has become the first defensive coach to interview for the vacant head coaching job for the San Francisco 49ers.
CEO Jed York met with McDermott on Tuesday as part of his cross-country interview tour to find replacements for fired coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke following a 2-14 season that tied the worst mark in franchise history.
The four previous head coach candidates all served as offensive coordinators in the NFL this season: New England’s Josh McDaniels, Atlanta’s Kyle Shanahan, Buffalo’s Anthony Lynn and Washington’s Sean McVay.
McDermott just finished his sixth season as coordinator for the Panthers. His unit ranked in the top 10 from 2012-15 and he was the only coordinator to oversee a top 10 defense in each of those four seasons.
McDermott helped the Panthers reach the Super Bowl last season before they struggled this season after the departure of star cornerback Josh Norman and injuries to star linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Before arriving in Carolina in 2011, McDermott had spent 12 seasons in Philadelphia, including two as coordinator. He was part of Eagles teams that won six division titles, played in five NFC championship games and made one Super Bowl trip.
McDermott interviewed for the Bills’ opening last week.
York said he was open to hiring either the coach or general manager first. He said the primary goal in the search is finding a coach and general manager who can work well together.
He has already interviewed five candidates for general manager, including Carolina assistant GM Brandon Beane on Monday. The other executives interviewed were Indianapolis vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III, Minnesota assistant GM George Paton, Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf and Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst.
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