Evidently Jim Harbaugh was targeting more than pass-catchers during the latter stages of his NFL career.
The Niners hired Greg Jackson as their assistant secondary coach today, the latest former teammate or coach from Harbaugh’s playing past to join his staff in San Francisco.
Jackson, 44, was a safety in the NFL for 12 seasons, the final four (1997-2000) with the Chargers. Harbaugh and Jackson were teammates in San Diego from 1999-2000. Tight ends coach Reggie Davis played with Harbaugh with the Chargers; quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst was his offensive coordinator in San Diego and offensive coordinator Greg Roman was an assistant coach in Carolina during Harbaugh’s final NFL season in 2001.
On Wednesday, Roman recalled a decade-old conversation in which Harbaugh said he’d become a head coach and would hire Roman on his staff. Roman said it was clear in Carolina that Harbaugh was already planning for a career in coaching. Then a third-string quarterback, Harbaugh would sit in on meetings that had nothing to do with the offensive game plan.
“Jim was a gym rat; that was the first thing when I first met him,” Roman said. “He was always around the facility, always he’d been sitting in the special team’s coach’s office floor as the special teams coach broke down opponent film. I mean, he was a football guy all the way. You don’t see guys doing that. That was, I’ve never seen that before or since.”
Jackson, Harbaugh’s latest hire, obviously made an impression during their time together with the Chargers.
Jackson has spent his entire eight-year coaching career in the college ranks, spending the past season as the nickel back/assistant linebackers coach at Wisconsin where he was on staff with offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, Geep Chryst’s brother. Jackson was also an assistant at Tulane (2007-09), Louisiana-Monroe (2004-06) and the University of Idaho (2003).
Well-respected as a player, Jackson became a team captain of the Giants after his third NFL season. He was also a captain with the Eagles and was the special-teams captain in San Diego.
During his career, Jackson started 129 games, recorded 32 interceptions and won a Super Bowl with the Giants in 1991.
Jackson will assist secondary coach Ed Donatell, a 20-year NFL veteran, in San Francisco.
• An updated look at the 49ers coaching staff (previous job in parantheses):
Head coach: Jim Harbaugh (Stanford head coach)
Assistant head coach/special teams coordinator: Brad Seely (Browns assistant head coach/special teams coordinator)
Offensive coordinator: Greg Roman (Stanford associate head coach/assistant head coach offense)
Defensive coordinator: Vic Fangio (Stanford defensive coordinator)
Quarterbacks: Geep Chryst (Panthers tight ends/quality control)
Running backs: Tom Rathman (49ers running backs)
Wide receivers: John Morton (USC wide receivers)
Tight ends: Reggie Davis (Oregon State running backs)
Offensive line: Mike Solari (49ers offensive line)
Offensive line: Tim Drevno (Stanford offensive line)
Offensive assistant: Bobby Engram (first year)
Defensive line: Jim Tomsula (49ers defensive line)
Linebackers: Jim Leavitt (South Florida head coach)
Secondary: Ed Donatell (Broncos secondary)
Assistant secondary: Greg Jackson (Wisconsin nickel back/assistant linebackers)
Defensive assistant/quality control: Peter Hansen (Stanford defensive assistant)
Quality control: Ejiro Evero (University of Redlands special teams/safties)
Special assistant to head coach: Bill Nayes (University of Wisconsin assistant athletic director/director of football operations)