Olson leaves Niners to return to Purdue

Greg Olson made a smooth transition into the 49ers coaching staff last season as the team's new quarterbacks coach. But after one season, he's going back to where he came from. The Niners announced on Monday that Olson has resigned his position with the team to return to Purdue University.

Olson had a good reason for his sudden departure: He wanted to spend more time with his wife Lissa, who is the head coach of Purdue's men's and women's track and field team. She was named to the position last year and is believed to be the first female to be in charge of a men's track and field program in NCAA Division I history.

"This was an extremely difficult decision for me to leave San Francisco," Olson said. "This was a dream job and not many guys get a chance to say they worked in the NFL, let alone working for the 49ers. I loved the year I spent here, but this was a decision I had to make that was best for my wife and me. She has made so many sacrifices along the way and this is a chance for me to give one back to her."

Olson was under no apparent pressure from the team to resign after he did a fine job last season in the development and tutelage of starting quarterback Jeff Garcia and backup Tim Rattay. Garcia threw for 3,538 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2001, becoming the first quarterback in franchise history to throw for 30 or more touchdowns in consecutive seasons. Garcia also was named to the Pro Bowl for the second season in a row.

Olson will resume his position as an assistant coach with the Boilermakers. Olson joined the Niners last year after a four-year stint at Purdue where he was instrumental in the development of two-time Heisman Trophy finalist Drew Brees.

"Greg did a great job in his year here with us," Niners head coach Steve Mariucci said. "We all understand the importance of family and the need to be closer to his wife. While we enjoyed him as a coach and person, we knew it was difficult for he and his wife to be apart. We will miss him and we all wish them the best of luck in the future."

The Niners now will be looking for a new quarterbacks coach for the second consecutive year. Last year, Olson replaced Greg Knapp, who is now San Francisco's offensive coordinator.

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