Ed Donatell

Defensive Backs Coach, San Francisco 49ers

Ed Donatell is in his second season with the 49ers after being hired as the team’s secondary coach on January 19, 2011.

Working with assistant secondary coach Greg Jackson, Donatell helped guide the 49ers defensive backfield, in 2011, to 22 interceptions, which ranked second among all NFL secondaries. S Dashon Goldson and CB Carlos Rogers each recorded a career-high six interceptions and both were selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time. Rogers was named a starter in Hawaii, while also being selected Second-Team All-Pro. The defense finished the season ranked fourth in the NFL in percentage of attempts intercepted (3.9).

With over three decades of coaching experience, including 21 years in the NFL, Donatell has worked with several of the most highly regarded defensive backs in pro football history, including Ronnie Lott, Steve Atwater, LeRoy Butler, Darren Sharper, Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins.

Donatell most recently served as the secondary coach with the Denver Broncos from 2009-10. Over the course of two seasons with the Broncos, the team ranked seventh in the NFL in opponent completion percentage (58.8) and ninth in passing yards per game (223.7).

Prior to working as the defensive coordinator for the University of Washington in 2008 and a special assistant for the New York Jets in 2007, Donatell served as the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons from 2004-06.

In his first season with Atlanta in 2004, the Falcons advanced to the NFC Championship Game and led the NFL in sacks (48) for the first time in club history. During his final year as the Falcons defensive coordinator in 2006, the club led the NFL in third-down percentage (30.2), while ranking sixth in the league in yards per carry allowed (3.8).

Donatell spent four seasons as Green Bay’s defensive coordinator (2000-03), helping the Packers lead the NFL with 116 takeaways from 2001 to 2003. Green Bay advanced to the playoffs during each of those three seasons, including the 2001 and 2002 campaigns when they won the NFC North title. In 2002, Donatell’s defense set a Green Bay record with 52 sacks and led the NFL with 45 takeaways. That year, Sharper earned his second Pro Bowl selection under Donatell after tying for the NFC lead among safeties with seven interceptions.

In Donatell’s first stint with the Broncos (1995-99) he served as the team’s secondary coach and won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1998 an 1999. The Broncos ranked seventh in the league in both passing yards per game (199.6) and passing yards per attempt allowed (6.5), en route to earning three playoff berths under Donatell. The Broncos also ranked in the top 10 against the pass in four of Donatell’s five seasons as defensive backs coach.

Donatell made his NFL coaching debut as the secondary coach with the New York Jets from 1990-94, where he worked with Lott in the final two seasons of his career.

Prior to making the jump to the NFL, Donatell spent 11 seasons in the collegiate ranks. He served as the defensive backs coach at Cal State Fullerton (1989), the University of Idaho (1986-88) and the University of Pacific (1983-85). He also was a graduate assistant at the University of Washington (1981-82) and Kent State (1979-80).

An all-conference defensive back, team captain and four-year letterwinner at Glenville State (WV) University, Donatell received a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1979. He went on to earn a master’s degree in administration from Kent State in 1981. A native of Stow, OH, Donatell is married to his wife Shari, and the couple has three children, Brenna, Thomas and Steven.