Miami Dolphins hire Mike McDaniel as head coach— Stephen Ross and GM Chris Grier make a statement

The Miami Dolphins have hired Mike McDaniel as their head coach —Image by: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images

After a long-rumored wait, the Miami Dolphins have decided on their next head coach. The team announced Sunday that it has hired former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel to serve as their new head coach.

The Dolphins and fans hope McDaniel will fix the offense, which was weak at times last season under Brian Flores. They also hope to get more out of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and strong pass-catchers, including tight-end Mike Gesicki and rookie-record holder Jaylen Waddle.

McDaniel, a Yale graduate with over 15 years of coaching experience, is best known for his bright offensive mind and innovative run game concepts. While he’s been coaching for nearly a decade and a half, his advancement to head coach has come quickly after serving just one season as San Francisco’s offensive coordinator.

In 2006, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan first worked with McDaniel and took the young assistant with him to every coaching stop he made. The 38-year-old McDaniel spent the 2017-2020 seasons as the run game coordinator for the 49ers before moving up to offensive coordinator in 2021.

San Francisco completed the campaign with the seventh-ranked offense in the NFL. McDaniel took part in orchestrating the 49ers’ aggressive rushing offense and also had a hand in helping Deebo Samuel compile an All-Pro campaign with 1,770 yards from scrimmage and 14 total touchdowns. 

McDaniel got his start as an intern with the Denver Broncos back in 2005. The following year, he served as the Houston Texans offensive assistant. His first official positional job was coaching the wide receivers for Washington in 2013. He then made a lateral move to the Cleveland Browns in the next season. He also spent 2015-2016 with the Atlanta Falcons as an offensive assistant before joining the 49ers.

McDaniel is also the first minority hire of this coaching cycle as he is biracial. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the 49ers will receive two third-round compensatory picks for developing McDaniel as a minority assistant coach due to the Rooney Rule.

With the Dolphins finally making their decision, the only open jobs that remain are the New Orleans Saints and the Houston Texans.

The latest development involved the release of a statement from Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and General Manager Chris Grier on social media.

“I’m very excited to have Mike McDaniel as our new head coach,” the statement began. It’s clear he is an out-of-the-box thinker, and he takes a different approach to problem-solving. He’s a leader, innovator, and a collaborator,” said Ross.

After firing head coach Brian Flores while retaining Grier as general manager, Ross made a statement at a Jan. 10 press conference: “I think an organization can only function if it is collaborative and it works well together. I don’t think that we were really working well as an organization that it would take to really win consistently at the NFL level.”

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