The San Francisco 49ers plan to hire Steve Wilks as their defensive coordinator, NFL Network reported Tuesday.
Wilks will replace DeMeco Ryans, who accepted the head coaching position with the Houston Texans last week.
Wilks, 53, began this past season as the Carolina Panthers’ passing game coordinator and secondary coach. He assumed interim head coaching responsibilities after Matt Rhule was fired on Oct. 10 after a 1-4 start. Wilks guided the team to a 6-6 record.
Wilks interviewed for the Panthers’ head coaching position following the season. That job went to Frank Reich, however.
Wilks will take over a 49ers defense that allowed the fewest points (16.3) and yards per game (300.6) in the NFL in 2022 and generated 30 takeaways.
Wilks has worked with the defense throughout the majority of his NFL coaching career. He was in charge of the secondary with the Washington franchise in 2005 and served as the defensive backs coach with the Chicago Bears (2006-08), then-San Diego Chargers (2009-11) and Panthers (2012-17).
He also guided the Arizona Cardinals to a 3-13 record during his lone season as the team’s head coach in 2018 before once again serving as a defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns in 2019.