New 49ers general manager John Lynch was short on specifics about the structure of the organization during a conference call with the Bay Area reporters on Monday night.
The 49ers are not allowed to make the hiring of coach Kyle Shanahan official until after the Atlanta Falcons play Sunday in Super Bowl 51 against the New England Patriots.
But Lynch, who was the FOX television analyst in the Falcons’ NFC divisional round game two weeks ago against the Seattle Seahawks, made it clear where he stood on Shanahan, Atlanta’s offensive coordinator. The two continued to talk after the game and Lynch expressed interest in joining him in an executive role with the 49ers, he said.
“I thought he was the catch of this head-coaching cycle,” said Lynch, whom the 49ers hired on Sunday night.
Shanahan's decision to team with Lynch brought an end to a four-week interview process in which 49ers CEO Jed York and chief strategy officer Paraag Marathe took a leading role in narrowing down the field of candidates.
Lynch said he envisions a true collaboration with the next coach – regardless of how the power is structured.
“From the outset, what’s been communicated to me is that we really want this to be a true partnership,” Lynch said. “Jed’s communicated that. Paraag has communicated that. That’s my wish.”
Throughout the process, league sources told CSNBayArea.com that Shanahan was not insisting on total control over the 49ers’ personal and roster decision.
Terry McDonough, the Arizona executive who was a finalist for the job, told CSNBayArea.com that Shanahan appeared to be amenable to any arrangement in which the coach and general manager worked together.
“The 53 is something that he might have wanted to have on his side of the ledger, but he was totally open to any type of structure, as long as it was in the best interest of winning,” McDonough said. “That’s what he all about. He talked about ‘winning’ and ‘building’ and ‘team’ and ‘us’ and ‘we.’ There wasn’t a lot of ‘I’ in there.”
Lynch, who was a team captain throughout his 15-year NFL playing career, believes one of his best attributes is to serve in a unifying role.
“We’re going to strive to create a culture where everybody’s working together,” Lynch said. “That’s one of my strengths. That’s something I’ve done throughout my career. I’ve had an ability to bring people together.
“Whoever this head coach is going to be, that’s will be something that we’re all going to understand, that we’re like-minded in our pursuit of winning a championship.”
Lynch said he has already started the process of attempting to build a supporting cast. He has targeted Denver Broncos director of college scouting Adam Peters for the position of director of player personnel, Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reported.
Peters came to the Broncos in 2009 with Josh McDaniels from the New England Patriots. This season was his first ad director of college scouting after spending the previous even years as a scout. He was with the Patriots for seven seasons.
“Outside, I don’t want to get into specifics, but we’re going to be really aggressive,” Lynch said. “And the response, I can tell you, has been magnificent from people who really want to be here.”
Lynch seemed to confirm he would retain 49ers assistant general manager Tom Gamble through the draft and give him an opportunity to prove himself to remain with the organization. The personnel department has continued to conduct business even after general manager Trent Baalke’s firing was announced shortly after the 49ers finished the season with a 2-14 record.
“For someone like Tom Gamble, he’s got a ton of experience in this business and I’d be a fool not to sit down and soak that up. I’m here to do that,” Lynch said.
“I’m very appreciative, and I can’t wait to communicate how appreciative I am to the people in the building that are working really hard.”