The Miami Dolphins have hired a new head coach, agreeing to a deal with former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, the team announced on Sunday. The move comes to fill the vacancy created at the end of the 2021 regular season when the Dolphins fired Brian Flores. McDaniel is getting his first chance at being a head coach with this hire.
McDaniel, 38, began his coaching career as an intern for the Denver Broncos in 2005. He then worked as an offensive assistant with the Houston Texans from 2006 through 2008. In 2009, he joined the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League, serving as their running backs coach for two seasons. In 2011, he joined the Washington Football Team as an offensive assistant, moving to their wide receivers coach in 2013. He took the same position with the Cleveland Browns in 2014, then moved to the Atlanta Falcons in 2015 as an offensive assistant. In 2017, he was hired as the run game coordinator for the 49ers, holding that position through 2020 before being promoted to offensive coordinator for last season.
McDaniel’s initial entry into the NFL was under Mike Shanahan with the Broncos. He also worked under Shanahan with Washington. His ties to the Shanahans also include work with Mike’s son Kyle, with whom he has been tied most of his career. When McDaniel was with Houston, Kyle was the team’s wide receivers coach in 2006, then the quarterbacks coach in 2007, and the offensive coordinator in 2008. When he moved back to the NFL with Washington in 2011, the younger Shanahan was the offensive coordinator. The two moved to Cleveland where Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in 2014, then again they both moved to the Falcons in 2015, with Shanahan the offensive coordinator. In 2017, Shanahan was hired as the 49ers head coach, again including McDaniel as part of his staff.
The running game expertise that has turned McDaniel into an intriguing head coaching candidate - and now head coach - is something the Dolphins need. The inventive nature of the 49ers’ offense led them to the NFC Championship game this season, with McDaniel helming the group.
The question is, will he be able to bring that creativity and success with him to Miami?