Former Hixson star Daniel Bullocks, now an assistant with the 49ers, will coach in Sunday's Super Bowl

San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Daniel Bullocks was a high school star at Hixson before going on to play at Nebraska and then in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. / AP file photo
San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Daniel Bullocks was a high school star at Hixson before going on to play at Nebraska and then in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. / AP file photo

Sunday's Super Bowl in Miami will have a little Scenic City flavor.

Although there are no players from the Chattanooga area on the roster of either team, former Hixson star Daniel Bullocks is a defensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers.

This is his third season with the team but his first as its safeties coach, and he has helped mold a unit that is ranked as the NFL's second-best defense this season. He spent the previous two seasons as San Francisco's assistant defensive backs coach.

The 49ers (15-3) will take on the Kansas City Chiefs (14-4) in the 54th edition of the Super Bowl at 6:30 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium, with Fox televising the game.

"There's been a lot of nerves and anxiety this week, so I think we're all ready to tee off on these guys," Bullocks said Friday evening. "I've been watching football since I was 5 years old, so getting to be a part of a Super Bowl is a dream of a lifetime. There's been a lot of hard work that's gone into getting here.

"Me being a former player myself, I feel like I can relate to our players in a lot of ways that go beyond just coaching them, but I really love teaching football. It's what I've always been passionate about."

A three-year starter at Hixson from 1997 to 2000, Bullocks and his twin brother Josh helped the Wildcats reach the playoffs for the first time in school history. They also were key figures in one of the area's most dramatic upsets of all time when the Wildcats rallied to beat perennial state power Cleveland in 1998.

With just nine seconds remaining in that game, Josh Bullocks caused a fumble, then scooped the ball up and returned it 42 yards for the winning touchdown as time expired. It was the first region loss for Cleveland in more than five seasons and helped Hixson earn that first playoff berth.

The older of the twins by one minute, Daniel became Hixson's first - and so far only - Mr. Football award winner as a senior, when he ran for 23 touchdowns and more than 1,500 yards and also intercepted four passes. He later was named MVP of the Tennessee-Kentucky all-star game after he returned an interception 104 yards for the winning score.

The Bullocks brothers signed with Nebraska, where each went on to become an All-Big 12 Conference defensive back. Josh led the nation with a Big 12-record 10 interceptions as a sophomore, earning All-America honors.

"Chattanooga will always be home because those coaches and people that were around me when I was young had a big impact on my life and helped make me into who I am," Daniel said.

Josh was taken in the second round of the 2005 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints, and one year later Daniel was taken in the second round - at the exact same draft spot with the 40th overall selection - by the Detroit Lions. He spent four seasons with the team before his playing career ended.

"I'm really proud of both of those young men," former Hixson coach Dan Duff said. "Josh is still living in Nebraska and is no longer involved in football, but Daniel has the game in his blood and he loves coaching.

"He's very excited, and I spoke to him last week and just reminded him to soak it all in because there's no guarantee you'll ever get to be a part of a Super Bowl again. Daniel has always been a very hard worker, whether it was in the classroom or on the football field. When he gets involved in something, he gives it everything he's got."

Prior to joining San Francisco's staff, Bullocks was a defensive backs coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016. He began his coaching career in 2012 at Northern Iowa, where he worked for three years before moving on to Eastern Michigan and then making the jump into the NFL coaching ranks.

Contact Stephen Hargis at or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

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