SANTA CLARA (AP) — The search for San Francisco’s new coach narrowed on Monday with New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels pulling out of the running for the job, while the 49ers added more candidates for their general manager vacancy.
Shortly after McDaniels said he was no longer a candidate to replace the fired Chip Kelly in San Francisco, team CEO Jed York interviewed Seattle co-directors of player personnel Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer later Monday for the GM job previously held by Trent Baalke.
McDaniels, who was the head coach in Denver from 2009-10, was considered one of the favorites to land the coaching job because of his success running New England’s offense before deciding to stay with the Patriots for at least another year.
He said he was impressed with York, chief strategy officer Paraag Marathe and director of football administration and analytics Brian Hampton.
“They did a great job with their presentation, and again (I’m) humbled to be included in that process,” McDaniels said. “At this time, it’s best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year’s playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out.”
That leaves only two coaching candidates remaining unless San Francisco decides to open up the search before making a final decision.
Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan previously interviewed for the job, but can’t be hired until the Falcons season is over. Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable also interviewed on Sunday.
Three coaches who interviewed with York have already taken jobs elsewhere with Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay getting hired by the Los Angeles Rams, Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott getting the job in Buffalo and Bills interim coach Anthony Lynn taking over the Chargers.
Vance Joseph was hired in Denver before he could interview with San Francisco.
The 49ers have the only coach opening left in the NFL after the other five vacancies have all been filled.
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.
Kirchner has 17 years of experience in the NFL since starting as a scouting intern in Seattle in 2000. He spent one year in Washington as a college scouting coordinator and eight years in Carolina as a pro personnel scout before returning to Seattle in 2010 as assistant director of pro personnel.
In 2013, he was promoted to director of player personnel before assuming his current position in 2015.
Fitterer has 19 years of NFL personnel experience and has been with the Seahawks since 2001. He was Seattle’s director of college scouting from 2010-14, before being promoted to his current role in 2015.
York has already interviewed seven other candidates for general manager: Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough, ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, Carolina assistant GM Brandon Beane on Monday, 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.