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Sports & Recreation

Best Coaching Legacy 

Mike Nolan

San Francisco 49ers

His father, Dick, roamed the 49ers sidelines as head coach from 1968 to 1975. Now, Mike Nolan will try to return the red and gold to its customary place atop the football universe. Nolan's track record should preclude any talk of nepotism. He's been successful everywhere he's coached, most recently in Baltimore, where he led the Ravens' run-stuffing defense to the third-best ranking in the NFL. Nolan's linebacker-heavy schemes should wreak havoc in a weak NFC West division, especially with All-Pro Julian Peterson studying under Mike Singletary. Although Nolan the Elder took the 49ers to two NFC championships, he never made it to the Super Bowl. Junior will look to improve on that record. He's got a tough road to hew -- the team finished last in the division in 2004. Choosing Utah's Alex Smith with the first pick in this year's draft could, however, ease the pain a mite.


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