Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports



The San Francisco 49ers announced the hiring of Ken Norton Jr., who will serve as the assistant head coach - defense/inside linebackers on Kyle Shanahan's staff.

In addition to Norton Jr.'s hiring, Johnny Holland will become the 49ers' run game specialist/outside linebackers coach while Michael Clay will become an assistant special teams coach.

"Ken brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to our team having spent more than two decades as an NFL player and coach," Shanahan said via a press release. "Throughout his coaching career, Ken has developed a tremendous understanding of our defensive system, making him a perfect fit for our staff. With four Super Bowl titles on his resume, including one as a 49er, Ken knows firsthand what it takes to become a championship caliber team."

Norton Jr. joins the 49ers after serving two and a half seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders. He was fired on November 21.

Before joining the Raiders, Norton Jr. spent five years (2010-14) as the linebackers coach for the Seattle Seahawks. He also served several roles on the coaching staff at USC from 2004 until 2009.


Of course, most of the Niner Faithful know Norton Jr. from his 13 seasons spent as an NFL linebacker, including his time (1994-2000) with the 49ers. Before joining San Francisco as a free agent, Norton Jr. played for the Dallas Cowboys, who drafted him in the second round out of UCLA in 1988.

During his career, Norton Jr. appeared in 191 games (188 starts) and registered 1,274 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 13 fumble recoveries, six forced fumbles, five interceptions, and 49 passes defensed. He won three Super Bowls (XXVII, XXVIII, XXIX) as a player during his time with Dallas and San Francisco, is a three-time Pro Bowler (1993, 1995, 1997), and a first-team All-Pro (1995).

Norton won a fourth Super Bowl (XLVIII) while part of the Seahawks' coaching staff.

As for the two other coaching moves, Holland served as the 49ers' linebackers coach in 2017, while Clay was one of the team's assistant strength and conditioning coaches.

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