Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - February 11, 2011

From Palo Alto, to Stanford to a coach with the 49ers

Paly grad Peter Hansen is settling in with his NFL dream team

by Keith Peters

When Peter Hansen sat down with his father, Earl, last Sunday to watch Green Bay and Pittsburgh battle in the Super Bowl, it perhaps was a bit more meaningful than just a father-son get together.

Peter Hansen has more of a vested interest in the National Football League now that he's a member of the San Francisco 49ers' coaching staff.

"I'm fired up to be there," Hansen said. "I grew up with one favorite team and that's the Niners. I've known this profession is unpredictable so I've been open to any path, but this one has me very excited!"

Hansen, 31, is the 49ers' defensive assistant/quality control coach.

"He is doing basically the same thing that he was doing at Stanford," said Earl Hansen, Palo Alto High's head football coach and athletic director. "He's helping Fangio. That's pretty neat."

Peter Hansen spent the past two years as a defensive assistant on the Stanford football coaching staff, working closely with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who accepted that same position with the Niners after Jim Harbaugh was hired as head coach. Hansen will perform similar duties with the Niners while helping with film breakdown, scouting reports and practice preparation. He had previously served as a strength-and-conditioning intern for the Cardinal, in 2008.

"His salary went up," said Earl Hansen. "He will pass me pretty soon."

Earl got word of Peter's new job three weeks ago when Peter called Earl at Paly and said: "I'm a 49er."

"Harbaugh had called him and then handed the phone to Fangio, who explained what he would do," Earl Hansen related. "He (Peter) knows the defense better than anyone but Fangio. They (the 49ers) are going to run the same defense they ran at Stanford."

Peter Hansen was assured of keeping his job at Stanford by new Cardinal head coach David Shaw, had Hansen wanted to stay.

Hansen was an assistant coach under his father at Palo Alto High for four seasons (2004-07), working primarily with the Vikings' tight ends and defensive ends. He also served as the team's defensive coordinator during the 2006 and 2007 campaigns.

A two-sport athlete at the University of Arizona, the 6-foot-8 Hansen majored in economics and played both football and basketball. He blocked seven field goals and point-after attempts during his career, and earned second team all-Pac-10 Conference honors as a special teams' performer, in 2000. Hansen was a member of the Wildcats' basketball team during the 1999-2000 and 2001-02 seasons.

Hansen played professional football for the Cannes Iron Mask in Cannes, France, in 2003, and later played professional basketball for Club Falcon in Copenhagen, Denmark, during the 2003-04 season.

A Palo Alto native who still lives in town, Hansen attended Palo Alto High and played football for his father. Peter quarterbacked the Vikings to their first-ever Central Coast Section in 1995 when he scored two touchdowns in a 14-10 win over Saratoga in the Division IV finals.

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