Mariucci might have coached final game with 49ers

Coach Steve Mariucci said he is eager to continue as head coach of the 49ers, but a contract extension will likely have to be worked out before his return for the 2003 season is guaranteed.

He is signed through the 2003 season, but NFL coaches rarely enter their final season of a contract as a lame duck.

When asked if Mariucci might return for the final year of his contract without an extension, 49ers owner John York said, "I don't think that's a good possibility, but it's a possibility."

Last offseason, the 49ers allowed Mariucci to interview for the coach/general manger job with the Buccaneers. General manager Terry Donahue negotiated the deal with Tampa for compensation if Mariucci had been hired.

Said Mariucci: "We'll take a look at where we're at, and John and I will sit down and discuss some things at the appropriate time."

Although Mariucci said he is no "real hurry," to get an extension signed, there is a sense of urgency because seven assistant coaches have contracts that are set to expire after the season.

Among the notable coaches who are not signed for the 2003 season are offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, special-teams coach Bruce DeHaven, running backs coach Tom Rathman and defensive line coach Dwaine Board.

The 49ers have only two starters scheduled for free agency, so the bulk of the team is expected to remain intact for next season. Receiver Tai Streets and defensive end Chike Okeafor can enter the open market on March 4, the first day of free agency.

"The coach is part of the team," York said of Mariucci. "That's all continuity. The way the salary cap is set up, you don't get to keep everybody, but that doesn't include your coach. That's a decision for Steve and I sitting down talking about things."

Scout NFL Network Top Stories