Former 49ers coach Mike Nolan, who hired Scott McCloughan to handle the team’s personnel department in 2005, has a clear top choice for San Francisco’s vacant general manager position.
And one day after writing about Arizona Cardinals vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough on social media and talking about him on KNBR, McDonough has landed on the 49ers’ list of candidates.
The 49ers plan to interview McDonough for the vacant general manager post to replace Trent Baalke, multiple sources told CSNBayArea.com on Tuesday night.
“He was groomed under (Baltimore general manager) Ozzie Newsome and (Baltimore assistant general manager) Eric DeCosta, as well as (Arizona general manager) Steve Keim,” Nolan told CSNBayArea.com on Wednesday morning. “He will follow their example. He will not meddle in coaching. He will focus on getting players.”
More than half of the 49ers' starters from their three consecutive teams that advanced to the NFC Championship Game under coach Jim Harbaugh were acquired under Nolan and McCloughan. Nolan was fired during the 2008 season. McCloughan and the 49ers parted ways just prior to the 2010 draft.
The 49ers hired Nolan after he served three seasons as Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator. Nolan played the key role in hiring McCloughan, who was the Seattle Seahawks director of college scouting. Nolan and McCloughan did not know each other before working together for 3 1/2 seasons.
Nolan overlapped with McDonough for two seasons while both men worked for the Ravens in the early 2000s. Nolan said he has spoken with McDonough on “limited occasions” through the years but has closely followed his career and has spoken to people he trusts who speak highly of McDonough.
Around the league, McDonough is known as fiery and opinionated but universally respected for his ability to evaluate talent.
“He has good people skills and most of all can set his ego aside when it comes to doing what's best,” Nolan said. “In other words, conflict is a good thing as long as there is compromise.”
McDonough completed his fourth season with the Cardinals and his third in his current position, in which he oversees the college and pro personnel departments while assisting on the negotiations of player contracts. He began his career as an intern with the 49ers in 1989.
The 49ers have already interviewed Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst of Green Bay, Minnesota’s George Paton, Carolina’s Brandon Beane, Indianapolis’ Jimmy Raye III and ESPN analyst Louis Riddick. The 49ers are also scheduled to interview Seattle co-directors of player personnel Scott Fitterer and Trent Kirchner.
CEO Jed York and Paraag Marathe, the 49ers’ chief strategy officer and vice president of football operations, are conducting the team’s interviews for the coach and general manager positions.
"We need to make sure that the head coach and the general manager know each other, have a good understanding for each other," York said last week.
Among the most logical coach pairings with McDonough, according to league sources, would be Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay.