Mike Nolan

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For other people named Mike Nolan, see Mike Nolan (disambiguation).
Mike Nolan
Chest-up casually posed photograph of Nolan wearing a light colored button-up shirt with an Under Armour logo and sunglasses
Nolan in 2008
Personal information
Date of birth: (1959-03-07) March 7, 1959 (age 57)
Place of birth: Baltimore, Maryland
Career information
College: Oregon
Career history
As coach:
Head coaching record
Regular season: 18–37 (.327)
Career: 18–37 (.327)
Coaching stats at PFR

Mike Nolan (born March 7, 1959) is an American football coach who was formerly head coach for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL), and a defensive coordinator for the NFL's Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, Washington Redskins, New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, and Atlanta Falcons.[1]

College years[edit]

Nolan attended the University of Oregon and was a three-year letterman in football and starter at safety.

Coaching career[edit]

He has coached at the collegiate level at Stanford University, Rice University, and LSU before moving on to the National Football League.

The son of former San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints head coach, Dick Nolan, he signed with the 49ers in 2005 to be head coach, following in his father's footsteps. He also served as his own general manager. Nolan came to the Niners after establishing himself as the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, a position he held with three other teams: New York Jets (2000), Washington Redskins (1997–99), and New York Giants (1993–96).

Nolan and the 49ers selected Alex Smith with the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. Nolan thought Smith to be cerebral, introspective, and non-confrontational. Nolan also evaluated Aaron Rodgers but did not believe that Rodgers' attitude could co-exist with him.[2] Nolan finished the 2005 season with a 4–12 record. Nolan led a late season run and the 49ers improved in 2006 to 7–9. That led to expectations for the 2007 season, which included at least 9 wins and a playoff appearance. The season started well at 2–0, but an 8-game losing streak ended all hope of a playoff run. During the season, he publicly disagreed with Smith over the severity of the quarterback's shoulder injury.[3] Nolan had been under intense scrutiny in the Bay Area. After the season, Nolan lost his general manager position and on October 20, 2008, Nolan was fired and replaced by his assistant head coach Mike Singletary.[4]

In early 2009 Mike Nolan became the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos under Josh McDaniels. With a new 3-4 defense the Denver Broncos gave up the fewest points in the NFL (66) during the first six games of the season, and made their way to their first 6–0 start since the 1998 season in which they won Super Bowl XXXIII. The Broncos went 2 and 8 the rest of the way, and missed the playoffs. On January 18, 2010 Mike Nolan and Josh McDaniels mutually decided Nolan would resign as the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos.[1]

On January 19, 2010, Nolan was hired by the Miami Dolphins as Defensive Coordinator. On January 17, 2012, Nolan was hired by the Atlanta Falcons as Defensive Coordinator.[5]

Suit issue[edit]

Following his hiring by the 49ers, Nolan asked the NFL for permission to wear a suit and tie on the sidelines as a tribute to his father. The league initially denied Nolan's request because of the contract it has with Reebok for its coaches to wear team-logo attire, a ruling that was changed during Nolan's second season as coach. In the new NFL policy, coaches were allowed to wear a full suit for only two home games per season. The suits were designed, marketed and labeled under the Reebok corporation. Nolan debuted the suit in a game at home against the Seattle Seahawks on November 19, 2006. A day later, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio sported another Reebok suit on Monday Night Football.

After further lobbying by Nolan, the NFL and Reebok reached an agreement to allow suits to be worn at all home games in the 2007 season.[6]

After his firing from the 49ers, however, he has simply worn team-issued apparel in all subsequent coaching jobs.

Coaching tree[edit]

Nolan has been linked to more than one coaching tree. He was a defensive coordinator for Brian Billick (who is part of the Sid Gillman/Bill Walsh coaching tree), Al Groh (who is part of the Bill Parcells coaching tree), and Norv Turner (part of the Jimmy Johnson tree). However, Nolan is most directly related to Dan Reeves. Reeves brought Nolan with him from Denver (where he was linebackers coach) to be the New York Giants defensive coordinator in 1993. Nolan excelled at the position and his success served as a springboard for later success with other teams.

NFL head coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
SF 2005 4 12 0 .250 4th in NFC West - - - -
SF 2006 7 9 0 .438 3rd in NFC West -
SF 2007 5 11 0 .313 3rd in NFC West -
SF 2008 2 5 0 .286 Fired mid-season - - - -
SF Total 18 37 0 .327
Total[7] 18 37 0 .327

Personal life[edit]

Married (to Kathy Nolan) with four children, and a devout Roman Catholic.[8] His sons are sometimes seen on the sidelines. He has three brothers and two sisters.

Attended Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, California.

Nolan's father, former 49ers coach Dick Nolan, died at age 75 on November 11, 2007, just a day before Mike's 49ers were to take on the Seattle Seahawks. Nolan decided to coach the Monday Night Football game in honor of his dad, but was not able to get the win.