The San Francisco 49ers were reportedly considering two candidates for their special teams coordinator vacancy. The first was Chicago Bears assistant special teams coach Richard Hightower, who was reportedly their top candidate, and the second was Atlanta Falcons assistant special teams coach Eric Sutulovich. According to Adam Caplan of ESPN, Hightower will get the job.
Richard Hightower will be #49ers special teams coach, source said. Shanahan did also interview Eric Sutulovich for the job.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) February 15, 2017
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and Hightower were teammates at the University of Texas and then served on the same staffs with the Houston Texans (2006-08), Washington Redskins (2010-13), and Cleveland Browns (2014). While Hightower has never been a coordinator, he has been a member of the 49ers coaching staff before. He served as the team's assistant special teams coach in 2015.
During that season with the 49ers, Hightower helped the punt coverage unit rank eighth in the NFL allowing just 6.4 yards per return, while working with rookie punter Bradley Pinion. Kicker Phil Dawson was 10th in the NFL with an 88.9 field goal percentage, which tied for the fourth-highest percentage of his 17-year career.
Hightower joined the Chicago staff in January of 2016.