Scores Big with 49ers
It might be enough to have a job where you get to wear shorts and work
outside every day. Or have co-workers who are household names. Or even
play a game for a living. But when your work is also your passion, it
doesnt get much better. Ask Greg Knapp.
former Sac State football standout is the new offensive coordinator for
the San Francisco 49ers. The best part of this job is waking up
in the morning knowing Im doing what I love to do, Knapp says.
I have a passion for coaching. Its fun to go to work.
After joining the then-Division II Hornets as a walk-on in 1982, Knapp
went on to become one of the most productive passers in Sac State history.
Nine years on the coaching staff at Sac State, including three as assistant
head coach, and summers as a training camp quarterback for several NFL
teams helped Knapp hook up with the 49ers in 1995.
Knapp served three seasons as San Franciscos quarterbacks coach
and is widely credited with helping turn current starter Jeff Garcia from
a journeyman backup to a Pro-Bowler. Under Knapps tutelage, Garcia
broke the 49ers single-season record for passing yards, formerly held
by present and future Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young.
As coordinator, Knapp is responsible for the offensive production, which
in the case of the 49ers has been among the best in the NFL over the years.
He is the supervisor of a corps of position coaches who work with the
At practice, Im responsible for game preparation, making sure
everyone knows their assignments, Knapp says. Its a
great challenge developing a game plan and delivering it, knowing theres
another guy on the side trying to stop you.
Knapp graduated from Sac State in 1985 with a bachelors degree in
communication studies, with an emphasis in radio and television broadcasting.
It was a great opportunity. My degree did me a lot of good because,
obviously, this business is really media-driven, he says.
went on to get a teaching credential and a masters degree in education
administration. Both of his parents were teachers, which he says influenced
his choice in careers. The way I was raised definitely had an effect
on my desire to coach, because coaching is teaching, Knapp says.
Though he doesnt get a chance to follow Hornet football during the
season, Knapp stays in touch with the coaching staff. He even invited
Coach John Volek and his wife to 49ers training camp. Im happy
to give any encouragement I can, he says.
And the admiration goes both ways. Greg is a Hall of Fame Hornet,
says Volek. He has never forgotten his roots and has always given
back to the program. Even though he now wears red and gold, he is green
and gold inside.
Sac State is also where Knapp met his wife Starla, who was then director
of financial aid. In those days, football players werent on scholarship,
and instead relied on the Student Athlete Support Program. Starla,
who was then Starla Satchel, gave us space in the financial aid office
for the student athletes, Knapp says. I knew her for six years
as a friend so I guess it was meant to be.
the Sporting Life
Knapp isnt the only former Hornet to have found a niche on the sidelines
of professional sports. Among alumni currently making their mark in the
sports world are:
Darren Arbet, head coach of the Arena Football Leagues
San Jose Sabercats and 2000 Coach of the Year.
Steve Shuman, assistant coach for the Womens National
Basketball Associations Sacramento Monarchs.
Mike Lange, voice of the National Hockey Leagues Pittsburgh
Penguins and 2001 winner of the Hockey Hall of Fames Foster Hewitt
Memorial Award for work as a broadcaster.
in the Game Hornet sports news, scores, schedules, and highlights are
available online at www.hornetsports.com.