SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan has spent the past nine seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator.
Nothing will change in 2017 in his first season as 49ers head coach.
Shanahan, 37, will call the team’s offensive plays. He will not have an assistant coach under him with the title of “offensive coordinator,” he said on Thursday during his introductory press conference at Levi’s Stadium.
“I plan on calling the plays, which is usually an offensive coordinator’s duties,” Shanahan said. “I don’t think it’s that important to name an offensive coordinator. I didn’t think it was the most important thing right now.
“I don’t know if it’s always going to be like that, but especially in this first year, I think it’s important to set that tone.”
Shanahan said he has yet to finalize the contracts for any of the assistant coaches on his staff. He is expected to bring at least three assistants with him from the Atlanta Falcons, including running backs coach Bobby Turner, and offensive assistants Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur.
The addition of Turner leaves the status of long-time assistant coach Tom Rathman in question. Shanahan said he wants to retain Rathman on his staff in another role.
“I talked to Tom today,” Shanahan said. “I made a commitment to Bobby Turner a long time ago that if I got a head-coaching job I was going to take him with me, regardless of where that was. And Bobby is a life-long running backs coach, just like Tom. Bobby is going to come here and be the running back coach.
“I love Tom Rathman. He’s a hero of mine, and I know what kind of coach he is. I’m trying hard to get him to be here in whatever other role he wants. But I know Tom. Tom is a running backs coach. I’m going to try my hardest to keep him here. It’s definitely going to be up to him. But I’m going to have to do some convincing.”
Turner spent 15 seasons on Mike Shanahan’s staff with the Denver Broncos. Kyle Shanahan’s design for the run game run game is based on what his father did with the Broncos’ zone scheme.
Rathman was a fullback with the 49ers from 1986 to ’93, during which time he was a starter on two Super Bowl-winning teams and seven NFC West champions.
He was hired Steve Mariucci’s coaching staff in 1997. He spent six seasons with the 49ers before going with Mariucci to the Detroit Lions for three seasons. He served as Lane Kiffin’s running backs coach with the Raiders in 2007 and ’08.
Rathman returned to the 49ers in 2009, where he has worked under Mike Singletary, Jim Harbaugh, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly.