Once a tough, hard-nosed NFL linebacker, Greg Manusky has since translated those qualities into a successful seven-year professional coaching career. Manusky brings that mentality to the 49ers defense as he enters his first season as defensive coordinator in San Francisco. Manusky joined the 49ers after serving as the linebackers coach for the San Diego Chargers from 2002-06 and in the same capacity for the Washington Redskins in 2001. During his 12-year stay as a linebacker with Washington (1988-90), Minnesota (1991-93) and Kansas City (1994-99), Manusky was known as a tenacious workhorse. He said his passion for the game, and mental will to do anything necessary to make an impact on the team, carried him throughout his playing career. I told Mike (Nolan) during the interview process that I’ve never really had an interview, Manusky said. Coming out of college, my goal was to go to the pros. My only interview was, ‘Can you run as fast as you can, hit the wedge square on and make a play?’ My attitude and experience playing special teams was mostly my forte. I had a heck of a year in 1991 with the Vikings. I used to play a lot of practical jokes on guys. I think that’s how I made the team. Head Coach Mike Nolan echoed Manusky’s sentiments. I found Greg to be a very good teacher, not only through our meeting, but also through talking with Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Wade Phillips and other league representatives about him, Nolan said. He’s got great energy. His organizational skills were very impressive to me. I was very impressed with his ability to organize a staff and delegate the responsibilities, especially since he’s not yet been a coordinator. Although it’s all on paper and just in discussion, he has a very good plan and a very good thought process in putting those things together.
Manusky played in 113 consecutive games during his career. Following the 1991 season, he was selected to the All-Madden Team put together by Hall of Fame broadcaster and former coach, John Madden. Manusky said the encouragement he received from his coaches during his playing days instilled in him the confidence to enter the coaching profession. During my sixth year in the league, I played under Tony Dungy and Monty Kiffin in Minnesota. They were the first ones to say, ‘Hey, you’d be a pretty good coach.’ Manusky recalled. That’s the road I’ve traveled since. During the number of years that I spent in Kansas City and even in my past few years as a coach, I’ve continued to try and push myself and adopt the mindset of an offensive or defensive coordinator. I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to do that here in San Francisco. After retiring from the NFL in 1999, Manusky spent the 2000 season as a volunteer at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ training camp where he worked with the linebackers and special teams. One year later, he accepted the job as linebackers coach with the Redskins. A well-regarded teacher and communicator, Manusky developed the Chargers linebacking corps into one of the NFL’s stingiest units. They were part of a defense that finished the 2006 season ranked seventh against the rush and third in turnover margin with a plus-13 balance. The unit alone accounted for 43.5 of the defense’s 61 total regular season sacks. In six years as a pro coach, Manusky has sent four players to the Pro Bowl, including San Diego’s Shawne Merriman in 2006, Donnie Edwards and Junior Seau with San Diego in 2002 and LaVar Arrington with Washington in 2001. Merriman, Arrington and Edwards all went to their first career Pro Bowls under Manusky’s tutelage. Manusky was born in Wilkes-Barre, PA where he prepped at Dallas (PA) High School. He went on to attend Colgate University where he was a four-year letterman and an All-Colonial league selection. He was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior and graduated with degrees in education and geology. Manusky and his and wife, Laurie, have two sons, Colton and Jake, and two daughters: Logan and Chandler.