Steve Wilks

Report: Chargers request to interview Wilks for head-coaching vacancy

NBC Universal, Inc.

After Steve Wilks' successful first regular season as 49ers defensive coordinator, the 54-year-old reportedly has drawn interest from one AFC team in need of a head coach.

The Los Angeles Chargers are requesting to interview Wilks for their coaching role, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported Monday, citing sources, left vacant after the team fired Brandon Staley shortly before Christmas.

Wilks, as noted by Garafolo, led a 49ers defense that finished third among all NFL teams in points allowed and eighth in yards in 2023. After the Carolina Panthers promoted him to interim coach on Oct. 9 of the 2022 NFL season, he led the 1-4 team to a 7-10 finish before joining San Francisco in the offseason.

The DC's strong finish to the 49ers' 2023 regular season, during which the team earned the NFC's No. 1 playoff spot, didn't come without struggles, however. Wilks came under fire during the 49ers' three-game losing streak before their Week 9 bye, as an underperforming defense exacerbated some offensive struggles.

But a move from the coordinator's booth to the sideline seemed to work wonders, and now Wilks could have the opportunity to return to a coaching role next season. If Wilks did accept such a role, he would be the third consecutive 49ers DC to go from San Francisco to a head-coaching job after Robert Saleh and DeMeco Ryans also did so.

Wilks isn't alone in catching the Chargers' attention, though, as Los Angeles also has been linked to former 49ers and current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. Under Staley, the struggling Chargers finished last in the AFC West this season after quarterback Justin Herbert sustained a season-ending finger injury with four games left.

As the 49ers prepare for their fourth NFL playoff run in five seasons, a head-coaching gig might be the last thing on Wilks' mind. But there's no doubt his turnaround this season with San Francisco proves he's up for the challenge.

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast

Contact Us