It's official: The 49ers on Monday afternoon officially hired head coach Kyle Shanahan, the team's fourth head coach in the past four seasons.
Shanahan will be formally introduced as head coach during a press conference later this week at Levi’s Stadium.
“It is truly an honor to be named head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, one of the marquee franchises in all of sports,” Shanahan said in a statement released by the team. “I must thank Jed and the York family for entrusting me with this great privilege and tremendous opportunity. I would also like to express my gratitude to Arthur Blank, Dan Quinn and the Atlanta Falcons organization for their support and the experience of a lifetime.
“As a young man, I had the unique benefit of being exposed to the storied history of the San Francisco 49ers firsthand. From that exposure, I developed great respect for those who created a world-class, championship standard.
As NFL.com's Nick Shook pointed out, fresh off a crushing loss and inexplicable avoidance of the run with a lead late in the Super Bowl, Shanahan's star was brighter a week ago. But that doesn't take away from his unit's performance in Atlanta in 2016.
The Falcons' offense's 33.8 points-per-game average produced an assistant coach of the year honor for Shanahan, a Most Valuable Player award for quarterback Matt Ryan, and an NFC title for Atlanta.
Shanahan was in charge of a unit that also broke franchise records in total yards per game (415.8) and yards per play (6.7), and created impact players in Tevin Coleman and Taylor Gabriel, along with usual stars Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman. Atlanta's offense became feared by most of the league thanks to its unpredictability, which was driven by a utilization of a multitude of targets. It wasn't uncommon for Shanahan's offense to complete passes to 10 or 11 different targets in a game.
Those types of numbers and the on-field transformation of the Falcons before the league's collective eyes made Shanahan a prime candidate for a Niners team that had one of the league's worst offenses (31st overall in yards per game, ahead of only the offensively inept Rams).
The coach joins forces with recently hired general manager and potential future Hall of Famer John Lynch, who once played safety for Shanahan's father, Mike, in Denver.
“This is a very exciting day for the San Francisco 49ers and our fans,” said 49ers CEO Jed York. “Throughout this process, we learned many things about Kyle that convinced us he is the perfect coach to lead this team. Over the years, he has proven to be one of the brightest minds in the game of football and his recent success speaks for itself. Kyle’s leadership has brought the best out of his players at every phase of his career and we look forward to watching him build a talented staff to accomplish the same with our players."
York said the 49ers had to split former head coach Chip Kelly and former general manager Trent Baalke because of a lack of chemistry, comparing the apparent abrasiveness to a bad marriage.
York sounds convinced he has a winning combination, and Shanahan said it all starts with mutual respect.
“Kyle and John are top-tier, football men with outstanding pedigrees who join the organization with a tremendous amount of respect for each other. The future of this franchise will be constructed from their vision, and we look forward to watching them work together for years to come as they instill the culture necessary to consistently compete for championships.”
"I could not ask for a better partner than John Lynch," Shanahan said. "He is a man who certainly has personal knowledge of what championship organizations look like. John and I look forward to establishing a strong culture that will serve as our foundation for constructing this team."
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the plan is for Shanahan to have control of the 53-man roster, while Lynch has control of other facets.
Shanahan has 13 seasons of coaching experience at the NFL level, including the past nine as an offensive coordinator for the Falcons (2015-16), Cleveland Browns (2014), Washington Redskins (2010-13) and Houston Texans (2008-09). In six of his nine seasons as an offensive coordinator (2008-09, 2012-13 and 2015-16), Shanahan has guided an offense that ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in yards gained.
Following the 2016 season, Shanahan was named Associated Press Assistant Coach of the Year, Coordinator of the Year by The Sporting News and Assistant Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America/
For what it's worth, Shanahan had the leverage to try to get his dad a job with the team. He apparently won’t be doing it.
“We did our deal in Washington and I wouldn’t take that back for the world, but that was pretty much the end of it,” Shanahan said last Monday, via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.