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Common Threads: Coaches Who Worked For Both The Seahawks & 49ers

With the Seahawks second matchup against the 49ers approaching, take a look at some of the coaches who have spent time with both franchises

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll greets former assistant and current 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh before the game.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll greets former assistant and current 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh before the game.

The Seahawks face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in their second divisional matchup of the season. Having already taken a look at some of the top players to wear both teams’ uniforms, this time we're highlighting five coaches who spent time with both franchises during their careers.

Pete Carroll

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll's coaching career has spanned five decades, from the collegiate ranks to the pros. Born in San Francisco, Carroll starred at the University of the Pacific at safety before returning to coach as a graduate assistant. After climbing the collegiate ranks for a decade with stops at programs like Arkansa, Ohio State and North Carolina State, Carroll moved up to the NFL in 1984 as defensive backs coach for the Buffalo Bills. He'd spend the rest of the decade coaching defensive backs with the Bills and Minnesota Vikings before joining the New York Jets as defensive coordinator in 1990. Carroll would spend three seasons at the position before getting his first opportunity to be a head coach with the franchise in 1994.

"When he came back to be an advisor," said Carroll. "They hired him back I think after the Stanford days, he came into the building, and no one wanted to talk to him. They were scared to death of him, everybody was afraid they would say the wrong thing. I didn't know anything, I grew up a Niners fan and loved all their success, but I hadn't been overwhelmed by him in the coaching process. So anyway, he was kind of by himself, he had a little office in the back corner, so I just started going in and hanging out and he let me come in and nobody else was coming by, so we developed a really great relationship. And what was so exciting about it was I had loved for the 49ers and the system and the history of how they had put it together, all of that. But I had a chance to ask him about all of 'How did you do it? Why did you do this? What was your thinking here? Why this play or why this coach?' And even talking through their cycles of their time together with Joe [Montana], Jerry [Rice], all those guys and Steve Young coming up, we talked through all that stuff. It was fun anyway, whether it had to do with coaching or not, it helped me."

Carroll will face the 49ers for the 30th time as the Seahawks coach, postseason included, since joining the franchise in 2010.

Greg Olson

Seahawks quarterbacks Coach Greg Olson has nearly four decades of coaching at the collegiate and pro levels, starting with his time at Washington State as a graduate assistant in 1987. The Richland native climbed the collegiate ranks through the 1990s, starting at Central Washington as offensive coordinator before stops at the University of Idaho (1994-1996) and Purdue University (1997-2000). In 2001, Olson moved up to the professional ranks to become the 49ers quarterbacks coach.

Olson spent time in different offensive roles with nine franchises before joining the Seahawks in 2023.

Nick Sorenson

NFL veteran Nick Sorensen spent 10 seasons with three franchises before calling it a career as a player and becoming a coach. The Virginia Tech alum joined the 49ers as assistant special teams coach from 2013-2015, before becoming the Seahawks' assistant defensive backs coach in 2016. The following season, Sorensen was promoted to secondary coach, remaining in the role until 2020. After spending the 2021 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars as special teams coordinator, Sorenson joined the 49ers in 2022 as a defensive assistant.

Robert Saleh

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh began his coaching career in 2002 as an offensive assistant at Michigan State University. Over the last two decades, Saleh has climbed from Houston Texans intern in 2005 to leading a franchise. Along the way, Saleh made a stop in the Pacific Northwest with the Seahawks, joining the Seahawks as a defensive quality control coach in 2011, remaining with Seattle through the Super Bowl-winning 2013 season.

After time with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2014-16) as linebackers coach, Saleh joined San Francisco in 2017 as defensive coordinator. Following three successful seasons, Saleh became the Jets head coach in 2021.

Brian Schneider

After his playing days as a linebacker at Colorado State, 49ers special teams coordinator Brian Schneider returned to his alma mater in 1994 as a graduate assistant. Through the last two decades, Schneider has worked the collegiate and pro ranks as a special teams coordinator, joining the Seahawks in 2010. Schneider would spend 10 seasons with the franchise before joining the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021. In 2022, Schneider joined San Francisco as special teams coordinator.

The Seahawks and 49ers face off on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023. Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. PT. Take a look back through history at the Seahawks' matchups against the 49ers.

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