SAN JOSE — Four-time Pro Bowl selection Bryant Young pursued a coaching position at San Jose State the way he chased quarterbacks as a mainstay on the San Francisco 49ers defensive line. As usual, he got the job done.
Young was one of four assistant coaches hired by San Jose State coach Mike MacIntyre and formally introduced Friday.
The 14-year NFL veteran, a graduate assistant at Notre Dame last year, returned to the Bay Area and sought an audience with MacIntyre through Spartans Athletic Director Tom Bowen.
“I had the opportunity to go other places, but I went about getting a conversation with coach MacIntyre,” Young said. “I got a meeting, and we went from there.”
Young established roots in the South Bay while with the 49ers and often used the facilities at San Jose State for his offseason training.
“Little did I know then that I would be back here coaching,” Young said. “Our kids were born here, and we're familiar with the area. This was the perfect opportunity to be back.”
Young embraced his new position with gusto, watching game films and meeting with a few players. He's also been on the recruiting trail, returning from a trip early Friday morning.
Young, who recorded 89 sacks in 208 games, was named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1990s, which culminated in 1999 with his earning the Comeback Player of the Year award.
After retiring in 2007, Young took time off to consider his future and found his thoughts always returned to coaching.
“It's something that I thought about for a long time,” he said. “I was fighting it a little bit until I decided to see if it would be a good fit. Notre Dame was a great experience, and I learned a lot.”
Young hopes to help the program recover from last year's injury-plagued 2-10 finish under coach Dick Tomey. The defensive line was the hardest hit by injuries.
“This is definitely a little different,” Young said.
“It all comes down to getting the right guys in there who are willing to sacrifice to try and help us win. I've been so focused on recruiting that I will need to take some time to think about what I want to accomplish.”
Young is at a school that produced Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh, the architect of the 49ers' success in the '80s and '90s.
“I didn't think about that before coming, but it is unique,” Young said. “Here's a place with so much history.”
Hugh Freeze, Tim Landis and Gary Bernardi were also hired.
Freeze spent the past two years as the head coach at NAIA Lambuth University. Landis coached at Bucknell the past seven years, and Bernardi had been at UNLV since 2005.