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Delanie Walker on Jim Harbaugh: ‘Best coach ever’

Walker said Harbaugh’s the kind of coach he likes, “ready to fight”.

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Former San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker was an incredible blocker with high-caliber receiving skills as well. Walker, who predominantly played H-Back during his time in San Francisco, started to see his career flourish when Jim Harbaugh became 49ers head coach.

Walker talked about Harbaugh on the Bussin’ with the Boys Podcast and had plenty of great things to say about Michigan’s head coach.

“Best coach ever. I love Jim,” Walker said. “Jim was the reason I was able to do what I did. Other coaches, would put me on the field and it would be at fullback, just to go lead block. Jim was like ‘you got so much talent’, and he had coached me in the Las Vegas Bowl so he knew exactly who I was. He was like ‘I need you to be pretty much the quarterback of this offense’, so I can play multiple positions. He was just real, man, I like coaches like that. He never beat around the bush.”

Walker shared that Harbaugh was always ready to compete with players, even in basketball. Walker said he would come into the team facilities and Harbaugh would be shooting free throws.

“He wanted to get a one-on-one. Physical, though. He’s bumping you, you got to toss him around to get the rebound, he ain’t scared. I was like ‘this is the type of coach I like’, ready to fight.”

Before Harbaugh arrived in San Francisco things were getting out of hand with players not giving it their all. Walker said the team would party every night and a bus would take them wherever they wanted to go after games. Harbaugh shifted their attention back to ball in hurry, setting the tone during the first team meeting.

“He was like, ‘I’m about to burn the grass’. And we all, like ‘damn, what the hell he talkin’ about?’ That was the first meeting, he was like ‘I’m gonna burn the grass’. We’re like ‘burn the grass?’, he’s like ‘yeah because I wanna find all the snakes.’ Every day he was releasing cats, and cats were like ‘hold on, we might be next!’ Everybody started to change around with Jim. He was bringing in cats he played (coached) with at Stanford. No names, he just knew that they worked hard and he was like ‘this is what I want out of everybody’. And them cats that came from Stanford were running hard at practice, going hard. Guys were like ‘OK, hold on — he’s letting us know he doesn’t care about big names right now. I’ll let you go if you don’t do your job.”

The 49ers had immediate success under Harbaugh, going 13-3 in his first season and reaching the NFC Championship Game. The 49ers had three consecutive NFC Championship Game appearances with Harbaugh as head coach and one Super Bowl appearance.

Walker, one of Harbaugh’s favorites, would go on to tally 504 receptions during his career for 5,888 yards and 36 touchdowns.