SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The San Francisco 49ers are adding another former head coach to first-year head coach Jim Tomsula's staff.
San Francisco will promote Eric Mangini from tight ends coach to defensive coordinator, according to a report from ESPN Thursday. Mangini joins Tony Sparano, who will reportedly be named tight end coach, as the second coach hired this week with head coaching experience to aid Tomsula.
Mangini spent five seasons as a head coach, three with the New York Jets (2006-2008) and a pair with the Cleveland Browns (2009-2010). Combined, he went 33-47 after getting those jobs following his work with Bill Belichick on the Patriots' defensive staff.
Mangini started as New England's secondary coach in 2000 and was on the staff for three Super Bowl wins in 2001, 2003 and 2004. Those defenses were ranked sixth, first and second in points against respectively during those championships runs. He was elevated to defensive coordinator in 2005, when the Patriots lost in the Divisional Round of the playoffs to the Broncos, finishing with the league's 17th-ranked scoring defense.
Jim Harbaugh brought Mangini on to his offensive staff as a senior offensive assistant in 2013 before coaching tight ends in 2014.
The 49ers needed to find a new defensive coordinator after incumbent Vic Fangio was let out of his contract after the team hired Tomsula as head coach. Fangio since joined the Chicago Bears in the same position and brought secondary coach Ed Donatell with him.
Mangini has experience running both 3-4 and 4-3 defensive fronts. Given the emergence of inside linebacker Chris Borland during his rookie season, there's a possibility the team switches its base defense to accommodate Borland's inclusion to a base 4-3 package. He could be flanked by All-Pros Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman behind a standard four-man defensive line.
The down side to switching to from a 3-4, which the 49ers have employed since 2005, would be asking all seven players in the base front to learn new positions and gap responsibilities. Players like Aldon Smith and Aaron Lynch might have to gain weight, which might result in a loss of quickness, to play defensive end in a 4-3.
The 49ers have yet to fill their offensive coordinator vacancy. They have been linked to Alabama's offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, former Washington and Denver head coach Mike Shanahan, and Colts offensive assistant Rob Chudzinski, who has been blocked from interviewing with other teams.