Past Popular 49ers Assistant in Talks for High-Profile HC Spot: Report

Greg Roman

Getty Greg Roman on December 28, 2014 while with the 49ers.

There was a time when the San Francisco 49ers once tapped into the nearest Power 5 university to provide a spark to their head coaching job, with Bill Walsh and Jim Harbaugh going from Stanford to the Niners. The end results for both were appearances in the conference title game and Super Bowl (three Vince Lombardi Trophies in the case of Walsh).

Even though this past popular assistant coach has been nearly a decade removed from the 49ers, Stanford could be turning to a man with previous ties to the 49ers organization to boost its own head coaching vacancy.


Who the Cardinal Reached Out to

First reported by Stewart Mandel of The Athletic on Wednesday, November 30, former 49ers offensive coordinator and current Baltimore Ravens OC Greg Roman has had talks with the Cardinal.

“Source: Stanford has talked with Baltimore Ravens OC Greg Roman about its coaching vacancy. Roman was on Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford staff in 2009-10,” Mandel posted. “Not known how many other candidates there are at this time.”

Roman’s boss on the Ravens John Harbaugh confirmed that Stanford did indeed reach out to Roman.

“Greg talked to me, he said there had been some contact there,” Harbaugh said to the Baltimore media on Wednesday. “I think it’s very preliminary right now. That’s where it’s at. When you have great coaches they have opportunities and we always try to encourage that and support them.”


Roman Once Shattered Franchise Record With 49ers

Roman, 50, once became popular among the 49ers Faithful for the offenses he helped install alongside Harbaugh.

In 2011, his unit ranked eighth in rushing yardage and was 11th in scoring during their return to the NFC title game. They were also among the league’s best at taking care of the football that same season with just 10 turnovers. The following season, Roman’s rushing offense leaped to fourth overall while again taking the same ranking in scoring. The ground game then rose to No. 3 in 2013 with Roman on the staff.

Roman and the 49ers compiled a 49-14 record together that included three straight trips to the NFC championship game and the Super Bowl 47 appearance. While in S.F., the franchise shattered a single-game record with 621 total yards in the 45-3 rout of the Buffalo Bills on October 7, 2012.

Before the 49ers, Roman had a two season stint in Stanford from 2009 to 2010 while Harbaugh was at the helm. He was on the Stanford staff when the Cardinal went 12-1 culminating in the Orange Bowl win over Virginia Tech.

Roman has since spent time with the Bills and his last four seasons with the Ravens. His 2022 Ravens offense currently has racked up the most rushing yardage among AFC teams with 1,790.


State of Stanford

Unfortunately, the alma mater of 49ers general manager John Lynch has fallen on hard times.

The Cardinal endured back-to-back 3-9 seasons that ultimately led to David Shaw to step down after the 35-26 loss to Brigham Young to end the 2022 season. Shaw, who succeeded Harbaugh in 2011, went 96-54 overall in Palo Alto but including the truncated COVID-19 season, had missed four straight bowl appearances.

There was also the explosive Mandel in-depth report released on November 28 about how far things fell in Palo Alto. Mandel included how the era of the transfer portal, NIL (name image and likeness) and the firing of a renowned strength coach led to a once physical and proud CFB program to erode.

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