49ers LB Coach Jim Leavitt: Coaching Up His Linebackers

Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith and their various associates get back to the negotiating table today, but with plenty of work to do, I thought it'd be interesting to get back to looking at the 49ers Coach 'Em Up videos over at 49ers.com. The latest video posted is about linebackers coach Jim Leavitt. You can also read the accompanying write-up about Leavitt that goes into a bit more detail.

Jim Harbaugh's coaching staff is loaded with incredibly solid talent and Leavitt is no different. Leavitt did not coach in 2010 after a controversial exit from the University of South Florida. He was the first coach in the program's history but an alleged incident involving Leavitt striking a player led to his departure. He sued the school and they reached a settlement which included a non-disclosure agreement. Prior to that he worked as a defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Kansas State.

The 49ers have a mix of coaches with pro experience but Leavitt is one with no pro experience whatsoever. He worked at lower level schools for a few years deciding to pursue his Ph.D in sports psychology. While working on that at Iowa he was approached by head coach Hayden Fry about becoming a graduate assistant while working on his dissertation. Apparently students have ten years to complete a Ph.D and based on his start time he was running out of time. In 1990 he was offered a job by Kansas State to coach their linebackers and he decided to pass on finishing his Ph.D and join the coaching ranks.

I'm curious to see how he is able to take what he learned while working on his Ph.D and apply it in the coaching ranks. When I first posted about the hiring, I found myself wondering how long he would stick around. He was already a college head coach but left against his own free will. I thought he might be looking at this as a first step back, but given that he's in his mid-50s, I'm not really sure what to think. Coaches can sometimes stick around until they're fairly long in the tooth.

However, I'm not so sure with Leavitt. In his Coach 'Em up video he mentioned towards the end how much he and his wife love living out here in the Bay Area. Maybe he is at a point in his life where he's not looking for anything too complicated. Whatever the case, I think he could bring a certain something to the linebackers. As a former head coach he could bring a unique angle to coaching a specific position. Patrick Willis has worked towards learning more about the bigger picture of the game to improve himself as a linebacker. Maybe having a head coach with LB coaching experience could help him take that next step.

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