SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- San Francisco 49ers Coach Dennis Erickson turned to a former assistant Thursday, hiring Willy Robinson as his defensive coordinator.
Robinson replaces Jim Mora, who stepped down last week to become coach of the Atlanta Falcons. He comes to San Francisco after four seasons as the defensive backs coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He joined the Steelers after serving as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Oregon State, where he coordinated the top-ranked defense in the Pac-10 for Erickson.
The 2003 Steelers' secondary ranked 10th against the pass while the defense ranked ninth overall. Pittsburgh Coach Bill Cowher promised major changes and fired defensive coordinator Tim Lewis.
Prior to joining Oregon State, Robinson spent four seasons on Erickson's staff as the secondary coach for the Seattle Seahawks. He had the same role under Erickson in 1994 with the University of Miami.