49ers Make History: Hire Steve Wilks as Defensive Coordinator After Panthers Interim Head Coach Stint

The San Francisco 49ers have announced the hiring of Steve Wilks as their new defensive coordinator. Wilks formerly served as the interim head coach of the Carolina Panthers in 2018.

The hiring was first reported by ESPN and later confirmed by NBC Sports and NFL.com. Wilks will replace Robert Saleh, who left the 49ers to become the head coach of the New York Jets.

Wilks had a successful stint in Carolina, leading the Panthers to a 5-3 record in 2018. He also served as the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals from 2017-2018.

As defensive coordinator for the 49ers, Wilks will be tasked with improving a defense that ranked in the bottom half of the league in 2020.

The move has been met with approval by many in the NFL community, including Ian Rapoport of KNBR, who provided an update on the 49ers’ defensive coordinator search.

The 49ers hope that Wilks can help them return to the playoffs in 2021. With Wilks now on board, they are one step closer to achieving that goal.