MOBILE, Ala. - Offensive coordinator Norv Turner made such an impact in his first season with the 49ers that even if he leaves the team, his offense will live on.
The Dallas Cowboys on Thursday requested and received permission from the 49ers to interview Turner for the head-coaching job that opened when Bill Parcells announced his retirement earlier this week.
Turner said late Thursday that he was awaiting a call from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. No interview has been scheduled.
"I need to talk to Mike (Nolan) and I need to talk to Jerry," Turner said.
Nolan, the 49ers' head coach, was also eager to speak with Turner, who earlier in the day expressed how much fun he experienced last season as 49ers offensive coordinator.
"I'm proactive about getting my list together and things like that and I'm proactive in speaking with him and seeing what he wants to do," Nolan said. "He likes the situation here and I believe he wants to be here. But at the same time, the Cowboys job is an intriguing job."
Turner, 54, served three seasons as Cowboys offensive coordinator from 1991 to '93 under head coach Jimmy Johnson. During Turner's time with the Cowboys, the team won two Super Bowls and had a 36-12 regular-season record.
He has been a head coach in Washington and Oakland, compiling a 58-82-1 record in nine seasons. His last coaching stint, with the Raiders, ended with his firing after a 4-12 record in 2005.
If Turner does leave to become Cowboys head coach, Nolan said he would hope to maintain the same offensive system. Receiver coach Jerry Sullivan would be a candidate for offensive coordinator.
Nolan wants to create some stability for quarterback Alex Smith, who made tremendous strides in his first season under Turner.
"Right now, I'd think we'll keep the same structure in place for Alex's sake and everybody else's sake," Nolan said.
The 49ers ran the West Coast system under coordinator Mike McCarthy in 2005. When McCarthy left to become the Packers' head coach, Nolan hired Turner to install the numbers-based system he learned under Ernie Zampese that was popularized by Don Coryell.
"I'm more partial to this offense than I was (to the West Coast system)," Nolan said. "We have more people in place who understand it and know it."
The Cowboys have also received permission to interview Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips for the head-coaching job. Phillips has been a head coach at Denver and Buffalo, and was interim head coach at New Orleans and Atlanta.
All signs point to Turner being a strong candidate for the Dallas job. The Cowboys hired Jason Garrett, 40, to be the offensive coordinator on Thursday. Garrett, who served two seasons as quarterbacks coach in Miami, spoke with Turner by phone earlier in the day.
Because Garrett is not believed to be ready to take over full offensive-coordinator duties, Turner could serve as his mentor while also helping develop Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman credits Turner's tutelage for much of his success.
The kind of impact Turner can have on young quarterbacks is being shown this week during the Senior Bowl.
"I love coach Turner and I love his offense," Florida quarterback Chris Leak said. "I just try to get around him and ask questions and learn as much as I can from him. It's such an honor to get a chance to be coached by him."
In other 49ers news, Nolan said he has some coaches in mind he would like to interview at the beginning of next week for the vacant defensive coordinator position. He declined to name the candidates.
"I'll be asking for permission and we'll see how that goes," Nolan said.
Also, 49ers cornerback Walt Harris has been officially added to the NFC Pro Bowl team, replacing injured Eagles player Lito Sheppard, who sustained a dislocated elbow in the Eagles' wild-card playoff game. This will be Harris' first trip to the Pro Bowl. Harris tied for the NFC lead with eight interceptions. He also broke up 17 passes, forced five fumbles and recovered two fumbles.