Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

49ers hiring Steve Wilks as defensive coordinator, per reports

Feb 7, 2023 at 10:30 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers plan to hire former Carolina Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks as their new defensive coordinator, per NFL insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. He replaces former 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, who left to become the head coach of the Houston Texans.

Wilks inherits this season's top-ranked defense, a unit that features several stars, including defensive end Nick Bosa and linebacker Fred Warner. He interviewed with the 49ers on Monday.

The 53-year-old entered the NFL coaching ranks as a defensive backs coach with the Chicago Bears in 2006. The coach later served in the same role with the then-San Diego Chargers (2009-11) before joining the Panthers in 2012. He was promoted to Carolina's assistant head coach and defensive backs coach in 2015 and then to assistant head coach and defensive coordinator in 2017.

Wilks served as the Arizona Cardinals head coach for one season in 2018, followed by one-year defensive coordinator stints with the Cleveland Browns (2019) and the University of Missouri (2021) before rejoining the Panthers as their defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach in 2022.

Wilks took over as Carolina's interim head coach after the firing of head coach Matt Rhule. On January 26, the Panthers hired Reich as their next head coach.

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