Why Kyle Shanahan’s parents told him, “Don’t be a coach”


Coaching hasn’t always been a dream job for the 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan, but there’s a good reason: His father, Mike — a two-time Super Bowl champion as head coach of the Denver Broncos — tried to talk him out of it when Kyle was young.

For that matter, so did his Mom.

But Kyle followed his heart instead of his parents, took a stab at coaching right out of college and the rest you know. But the rest we did not know at the Talk of Fame Network. So, on the latest broadcast, we asked him how he chose the profession he’s in.

“I lived and died football, and my grades suffered a little bit for that,” said San Francisco’s newest head coach. “It was definitely the most important thing in my life. And my parents always raised me … telling me, ‘Hey, don’t be a coach; don’t be a coach.’ And it’s the same thing I’m going to tell my son.

“Coaching isn’t as all-glamorous like people think it is. You’ve got to move a lot. You’ve got to go through a lot of bad times. Everyone’s going to get fired. You’re going to have to move your family. You’re going to have to tell your first-grader she’s moving, and she’s not going to understand why.

“So there are a lot of ups and downs with it. My parents always told me not to get into it. But once they realized I wanted to, I think my Dad was pretty flattered that I wanted to follow after him.”

And follow after him, he did. Literally.

When his Dad was hired by Washington as head coach in 2010, he brought his son along as offensive coordinator, with the two remaining together for four years. Kyle then moved on to Cleveland and, later,  Atlanta, serving as offensive coordinators at both stops.

Now, of course, he’s in San Francisco in his first trial as a head coach, and it’s a building where his father won a Super Bowl as the 49ers’ offensive coordinator in 1994. It’s not exactly how Mom and Dad would not have drawn it up, but their son has a ready explanation for not obeying his parents.

“I always tried to stay out of it; never said for sure I was going to get into it,” he said. “But I did everything I could to play.

” Starting in high-school my number-one goal in life was to get a scholarship. And then once I did my number-one goal in life was to play at Texas. And then it was to try to get a chance to play in the NFL. I worked very hard to try to do that, and I think it got me as far as it could.

“Once I was honest with myself and realized I wasn’t going to make a career out of being a player, I said, ‘All right, now what do I want to do? Well, I love football, and I want to coach.’ And right when I said that I kind of realized that’s what I had wanted to do my whole life, and I started getting into coaching right away.

“Right when I graduated I went to UCLA as a graduate assistant and quickly learned that I was definitely a much more talented coach than I was a player. It was a lot easier.”

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1 Comment

  1. […] “I lived and died football, and my grades suffered a little bit for that,” Kyle Shanahan said, via Clark Judge of the Talk of Fame Network. “It was definitely the most important thing in my life. And my parents always raised me, telling me, ‘Hey, don’t be a coach; don’t be a coach.’ And it’s the same thing I’m going to tell my son.” […]

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