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49ERS Coaches Mora, Knapp retained



Published: Thu, February 20, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Two others from Steve Mariucci's staff also will return under new coach Dennis Erickson.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- Defensive coordinator Jim Mora and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp will stay with the San Francisco 49ers on new coach Dennis Erickson's staff.

The 49ers also will retain offensive line coach Pat Morris and quarterbacks coach Ted Tollner.

The rest of Erickson's staff could be completed by next week, the coach said Friday.

Mora was among the finalists to replace Steve Mariucci, who was fired on Jan. 15.

Staying put

Instead of leaving for one of several opportunities, including a possible reunion with Mariucci in Detroit, Mora will remain in San Francisco, where he has been the defensive coordinator for the past four seasons.

"I was thrilled about being one of the finalists for the head coaching job, and I know I'll be a head coach someday in the near future," Mora said.

"I love the direction this team is heading. I love the players and the way they work. I've been with many of them since the start of their careers, helping them develop, and I wanted to see it through."

Mora, who has one year remaining on his contract with the 49ers, interviewed for the Carolina Panthers' defensive coordinator job, which went to Mike Trgovac of Austintown earlier this week, and at least one other job.

Mariucci was thought to be interested in bringing Mora to Detroit, where Mariucci was hired two weeks ago.

San Francisco's defense ranked 14th in the NFL last season despite losing several defensive backs and linebacker Jamie Winborn to injuries for much of the season. The unit has steadily improved since 1999 with annual additions of young players who have matured under Mora's direction.

At the Wednesday news conference announcing his hiring, Erickson said he planned to retain Knapp, who was San Francisco's offensive coordinator for the previous two seasons. Knapp signed a contract extension with the 49ers shortly after Mariucci was fired.

Mix of philosophies

True to the wishes of general manager Terry Donahue, the 49ers will run a version of their famed West Coast offense filtered through Erickson's predilections for aggressive downfield passing.

"Greg and I have very similar beliefs about offensive philosophy, and I felt it was a good match for our offense," Erickson said. "He understands the offense that has been in place here for more than two decades, and keeping that continuity was very important to me."

Several members of Mariucci's staff already have scattered.

Linebackers coach Richard Smith joined Mariucci in Detroit, special teams coach Bruce DeHaven went to Dallas, receivers coach George Stewart joined the Atlanta Falcons and defensive line coach Dwaine Boards went to Seattle.




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