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January 12, 2009
Singletary adds new faces, new position to defensive staff

The 49ers added two new assistants to the defensive staff today both of whom have close ties to coach Mike Singletary. Vantz Singletary, a nephew of the head coach, will serve as the team's inside linebackers coach. Al Harris, a former Bears teammate of Singletary's, has been added as "pass rush specialist coach." That position presumably will work with both linebackers and defensive linemen. Jason Tarver, who became the de facto linebackers coach when Singletary became head coach, will continue to coach the outside linebackers.

"We are pleased to add Vantz Singletary and Al Harris to our coaching staff," Singletary said in a statement. "Both possess the qualities and character that I am looking for to lead our group forward."

Vantz Singletary coached at the collegiate level for the past 17 seasons with his most recent stop in 2008 as the defensive tackles coach at Buffalo. He also has coached at Tennessee at Chattanooga (2006-07), Hawaii (1999-2005), Southern (1997-98) and Trinity College (1992-96). He has coached a number of would-be NFL players, including 49ers defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga at Hawaii.

"Vantz has had a tremendous career during his many seasons as a collegiate coach," Singletary said. "I am confident that the way in which he has worked with young football players during that extensive experience will translate into success as he embarks on his NFL coaching career."

Harris, who was both a linebacker and defensive end, played 11 campaigns with Chicago (1979-84, 86-88) and Philadelphia (1989-90).

"Al Harris' greatest attribute is as a teacher," Singletary said. "We're excited about the addition of Al because our players will benefit from his teaching ability, in terms of the strategy and methodology of what goes into the pass rush."

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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