The New York Jets have found their new head coach: former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has “agreed in principle” to take over the position that became vacant when Adam Gase was fired 11 days ago. Saleh was in New York for a second interview on Thursday, and promptly took the job.
Saleh will become the 20th head coach in franchise history, taking over a team that went just 2-14 last year and has not been to the playoffs since the 2010 season.
Before arriving in New York, Saleh has served as San Francisco’s defensive coordinator for the past four years. Along the way, he helped the team reach a Super Bowl and field some of the better defenses in the NFL. Just last year, the 49ers — despite suffering some major injuries — finished as the 14th ranked defense in the league in points (22.2) and fifth in yards (314.4) given up per game.
Saleh joined the 49ers after starting his coaching career as a defensive assistant at Michigan State (2002-03). After stints at Central Michigan (2004) and Georgia (2005), he arrived in the NFL as an assistant coach with the Houston Texans (2005-10). He worked his way up the organizational ladder before leaving to take a quality control position with the Seattle Seahawks (2011-13).
Having spent three years in Seattle, Saleh joined the Jacksonville Jaguars as their linebackers coach (2014-17). He then moved up again to take over Kyle Shanahan’s defense in San Francisco. Now, the 41-year-old has taken another step to become a first-time head coach.
The New England Patriots are scheduled to face the Saleh-led Jets twice during the 2021 regular season.