Quinn elevated; Tomey added

The 49ers are giving Dan Quinn an opportunity to step up and see what he can do as a positional coach. The team announced on Wednesday that the 32-year-old Quinn - who already had been retained for 2003 by new head coach Dennis Erickson - has been promoted to defensive line coach, filling the remaining major void on Erickson's first coaching staff in San Francisco. The Niners also added venerable coaching veteran Dick Tomey to Erickson's staff in the newly-created position of nickel team coach.

Quinn had established himself as an up-and-comer during the past two seasons - his first in the NFL - as the Niners' defensive quality control coach. During his time in that role, he worked closely with former defensive line coach Dwaine Board and was instrumental in the development this past season of young ends Andre Carter and Chike Okeafor.

Quinn interviewed with Erickson in February and was retained on the coaching staff as a defensive assistant, and the Niners' new coach came away impressed by what Quinn could offer the team in a more advanced role. With the addition of Tomey to the staff to help oversee specific defensive areas, the Niners opted to elevate Quinn rather than bring in a man with more experience to coach the line.

Tomey is known for his work as the head coach at the University of Arizona and Hawaii, where he compiled a combined record of 158-110-7. It had been rumored that Tomey had discussions with Niners general manager Terry Donahue during the team's search for a head coach, and Tomey's expertise obviously is highly respected in the 49ers circle. He spent time during the Niners' 2001 training camp with the team in Stockton, having been invited by Donahue to evaluate the roster. Tomey has worked as a TV analyst on Hawaii football games since resigning as Arizona's head coach in November 2000 after 14 years at the helm.

Erickson said Tomey will be a defensive assistant concentrating on nickel pass coverage packages and also will lend a hand on special teams. San Francisco's nickel coverage has been one of the team's biggest problem areas in recent seasons.

The Niners also have named Jamie Christian to be their defensive quality control coach, the role occupied on the staff last year by Quinn. Christian, a San Francisco Bay Area native, is a former graduate assistant with Erickson's defensive staff at Oregon State who coached defensive backs last year at Northern Arizona.

Erickson's staff is now all but complete. The head coach said he still plans to hire two more entry-level coaches to round out his first staff in San Francisco. Both will fill quality-control openings, one on defense and another on special teams.

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