Niners hire Morton; Singletary lands in Minnesota

After hiring three assistants from his staff at Stanford last week, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh plucked a coach from his former Pac-10 rival today.

USC wide receivers coach John Morton, 41, will join Harbaugh’s coaching staff, presumably with the same job description. Morton and Harbaugh were assistants with the Raiders in 2002-03 and Morton worked under Harbaugh as the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach at the University of San Diego in 2005.

A 49ers spokesman did not confirm the hiring, but USC released a statement.

“This is a great opportunity for John to further his career,” Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said in the statement. “We appreciate the great work he did at USC and wish him the best of luck.”

Morton, who has nine years of NFL experience, worked in the Raiders personnel department in 1997 and was an assistant with the team from 1998-2004. He was the passing game coordinator and offensive assistant with the Saints in 2006 before spending the past four seasons at USC as the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. Morton had the title of offensive coordinator in 2009, but did not call plays.

Morton was an all-conference wide receiver at Western Michigan and spent part of two seasons (1993-94) on the Raiders practice squad.

Former 49ers coach Mike Singletary has been hired as the Vikings linebackers coach and assistant head coach. The hiring was confirmed today by the Associated Press.

Singletary and Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier were teammates with the Chicago Bears from 1981-85 and have remained close friends.

Singletary was the linebackers coach with the Ravens from 2003-04. He was the assistant head coach and linebackers coach in San Francisco from 2005-08 before becoming the Niners interim coach after Mike Nolan was fired seven games into the 2008 season.

The Niners are remaining quiet regarding some of their coaching hires, but an unexpected source – new Raiders coach Hue Jackson – confirmed that Ed Donatell has joined San Francisco’s staff as the secondary coach.

At his introductory press conference today, Jackson said Donatell, who recruited him to University of the Pacific in the mid-80s, had joined San Francisco’s staff. The hiring was first reported last week by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Donatell, a 20-year NFL veteran, is a longtime secondary coach who was a defensive coordinator with Green Bay (2000-03) and Atlanta (2004-06).

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