Like father, like son

Mike Nolan grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area watching his father Dick coach the 49ers from 1968-75, a period during which the team won three consecutive NFC West titles and reached two NFC championship games. Now it will be the son trying to imitate the father, and Dick Nolan speaks here about his boy following in his footsteps as head coach of the Niners.

Q: When Mike was around the team as a child, what did he do?

Dick Nolan: He went to training camp with me and he was a ball boy and he would do various things. He would go into the night meetings and pay attention and listen. He wanted to take a look at things and he learned this at a young age.

Q: Was there any particular player he took a liking to as a youth?

Dick Nolan: He really liked Dave Wilcox. He played at Oregon like Mike would eventually do. He liked guys like Cedrick Hardman because they had such great ability.

Q: Did Mike always like football?

Dick Nolan: He wanted to play and coach. He always had a passion for the game. I always told him to play football because he likes it, not because I wanted to him. I didn't want to push him into the game. That is what all my four sons did.

Q: What does Mike bring to the table? How will he be a successful coach? What qualities does he have?

Dick Nolan: He understands players and can handle situations on the field. He can handle players and can help them with any problems that they have on or off the field. He knows his stuff and is very organized.

Q: How does it feel being only the fourth father-son combination to be a head coaches in NFL history?

Dick Nolan: I never dreamed he would be the head football coach of a team I coached. I never thought it would be that way. It is great to see that happen.

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