Terry Donahue was named General Manager of the 49ers on May 2, 2001.
His responsibilities include all aspects of football operations, including contracts, personnel decisions, the college draft, as well as being involved in the daily management of the organization.
Donahue has been instrumental in the rapid and highly-successful rebuilding project that saw the 49ers plummet to 4-12 in salary cap quick sand in 1999 before rebounding to 12-4 and a playoff participant in just two seasons.
The long time UCLA head coach was hired by the 49ers in 1999 as Director of Player Personnel and was elevated to Assistant General Manager prior to the 2000 season. While being groomed by Bill Walsh to take over the General Manager post, Donahue’s primary duties included managing the 49ers scouting and draft activities in addition to coordinating the team’s pro personnel department.
Donahue deserves credit for making adjustments to San Francisco’s drafting system, which resulted in a retooled, energetic roster. The highlight came in 2000, when the 49ers landed five starters with their first six picks.
Donahue joined the 49ers after spending three years (1996-98) as the lead college football analyst for CBS Sports. Prior to going into broadcasting, Donahue enjoyed a Hall of Fame coaching career at UCLA. He became the winningest coach in Pac-10 history, posting a 151-74-8 (.665) record during a 20-year (1976-95) head coaching career with the Bruins. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
During his two-decade coaching career, Donahue built UCLA into one of the top programs in the country. The Bruins finished in the Top 20 12 times and cracked the Top 10 five times under Donahue’s direction. He registered a 98-51-5 (.653) conference record and guided the Bruins to 13 bowl games, including four Rose Bowls, and five Pac-10 championships. The 98 wins are the most in conference history and included a winning record against every Pac-10 opponent. Donahue had an 8-4-1 record in bowl games and is one of only two coaches in NCAA history to win eight consecutive bowl appearances.
He made six appearances in the Rose Bowl, including one as a player, one as an assistant coach and four as a head coach. He guided the Bruins to three Rose Bowl championships as a coach and was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1997.
UCLA produced 34 first-team All-Americans and had 14 players selected in the first round of the NFL draft during Donahue’s tenure. He was inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame in 2001.
The Southern California native went to UCLA as a walk-on and started two seasons (1965-66) at defensive tackle. After graduating in 1967, he became defensive line coach at Kansas before returning to UCLA as offensive line coach in 1971 under Pepper Rodgers. At age 31 he assumed the head coaching position when Dick Vermeil resigned to coach the Philadelphia Eagles in 1976. Donahue was a starting linebacker at Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, CA. After playing freshman football at San Jose State, he attended L.A. Valley College before enrolling at UCLA, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 1967. He later added a master’s degree from UCLA in kinesiology in ’77.
Terry was born (6-24-44) in Los Angeles, CA. He and his wife, Andrea, have three grown children: Nicole, Michele and Jennifer; and two granddaughters, Brooke and Alexandra