SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The San Francisco 49ers announced Monday that they hired former Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. as their inside linebackers coach.
The 49ers also announced Monday that Johnny Holland will become the team’s run game specialist/outside linebackers coach and Michael Clay will become an assistant special teams coach.
“Ken brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to our team having spent more than two decades as a NFL player and coach,” said Head Coach Kyle Shanahan. “Throughout his coaching career, Ken has developed a tremendous understanding of our defensive system, making him a perfect fit for our staff. With four Super Bowl titles on his resume, including one as a 49er, Ken knows firsthand what it takes to become a championship caliber team.”
Norton, 51, joins the 49ers after spending two and a half seasons (2015-17) as the defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders. In 2016, Norton’s defense produced Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year DE Khalil Mack and two Pro Bowlers (Mack and S Reggie Nelson).
Prior to Oakland, Norton Jr. spent five years (2010-14) as the linebackers coach for the Seattle Seahawks. Before his time in Seattle, Norton Jr. served as a defensive assistant/linebackers coach (2004), linebackers coach (2005-08) and assistant head coach defense/linebackers coach (2009) at the University of Southern California for six seasons. He began his coaching career at the high school level, serving as the defensive coordinator at Hamilton (Los Angeles, CA) High School in 2003.
A native of Westchester, CA, Norton Jr. played in the NFL for 13 seasons after originally being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round (41st overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft. He spent his first six seasons with the Cowboys (1988-93) and his final seven with the San Francisco 49ers from 1994-2000. Named Associated Press First-Team All-Pro in 1995, Norton Jr. is the only player in NFL history to play on three consecutive Super Bowl-winning teams (Super Bowls XXVII & XXVIII with Dallas and Super Bowl XXIX with San Francisco). Throughout his career, he appeared in 191 games (188 starts) and registered 1,274 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 13 fumble recoveries, six forced fumbles, five interceptions and 49 passes defensed.
Norton Jr. played collegiately at UCLA for four seasons (1984-87) where he earned All-America honors and was a finalist for the Butkus Award as a senior in 1987. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UCLA.
In 2017, Holland served as linebackers coach, while Clay was one of the team’s assistant strength & conditioning coaches.
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