SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Jimmy Raye agreed to terms with the San
Francisco 49ers on Friday to become the club's seventh offensive
coordinator in seven seasons.
The 62-year-old Raye is an experienced but somewhat unlikely choice for the 49ers, who needed a full month to fill the vacancy created when coach Mike Singletary fired Mike Martz on Dec. 30 in his first major act after getting the permanent job running the club.
Singletary, who went 5-4 as an interim coach to finish the 49ers' sixth consecutive losing season, wanted a veteran coordinator who would build his game plans around a sustained running attack. He apparently found what he wanted in Raye, the eighth man to interview for the job.
Raye has been an offensive coordinator for six previous franchises, including the Oakland Raiders in 2004-05, when he also served as Norv Turner's assistant head coach. He spent the last three seasons as the New York Jets' running backs coach under Eric Mangini.
During more than three decades of NFL coaching experience, Raye
has been a coordinator with the Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay, New
England, Kansas City, Washington and Oakland. He was even on the
49ers' coaching staff in 1977.
Raye wasn't Singletary's first choice, however. Former St. Louis
coach Scott Linehan turned down the position earlier this month,
saying he wasn't ready to commit to his next coaching stop - only
to take the same job with the winless Detroit Lions a few days
San Francisco's offense finished last overall in the NFL in 2005
and 2007 under coach Mike Nolan, but Martz raised it to a level of
respectability in 2008. The 49ers scored 339 points after managing
just 219 in 2007, also racking up nearly 74 more offensive yards
But the franchise that redefined offensive football in the 1980s
under Bill Walsh has employed a new coordinator in every season
since 2003, one year after the 49ers' last trip to the playoffs.
Greg Knapp, Ted Tollner, Mike McCarthy, Turner, Jim Hostler and
Martz all have taken a turn in charge of San Francisco's offense,
none with much success.
In addition to building an offense around Frank Gore, Raye will
be instrumental in choosing the 49ers' quarterback. Shaun Hill
isn't guaranteed to be the starter despite his solid play in the
second half of the season, while former No. 1 overall draft pick
Alex Smith won't return unless he reaches an agreement to
drastically reduce his salary.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)