The San Francisco 49ers didn’t look far to replace Jim Harbaugh, picking top-internal candidate Jim Tomsula as the 19th head coach in franchise history.
Tomsula, along with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, were perceived to be the 49ers top internal options to replace Harbaugh after he and the 49ers “mutually agreed to part ways.” The 49ers met with eight other coaching candidates across 17 days before settling on Tomsula.
CEO Jed York released a statement officially announcing the new hire:
“After conducting a thorough coaching search, and meeting with a number of outstanding candidates, Jim Tomsula clearly is the right man to lead this team. Jim is a great teacher and a tremendous mentor who conducts himself with great class and integrity.”
General manager Trent Baalke echoed York’s sentiments:
“Our organization is excited to have Jim Tomsula leading this football team. We have had the privilege of working alongside Jim for the past eight seasons. He is a proven leader, teacher and mentor, and we look forward to seeing him apply his craft and vision to our team.”
The 46-year old Tomsula is an eight-year veteran of the 49ers coaching staff, having served as the defensive line coach throughout his career since joining the team in 2007.
Tomsula has shaped a stout defensive line that has given up the fourth fewest rushing yards in the league, just 98.4 yards per game. Under Tomsula, the 49ers defensive line has remained a staple of the team’s defensive success through the years.
The 49ers’ decision to promote Tomsula may be met with criticism. Tomsula has just one game of head coaching experience in the NFL, coaching the final game of the 2010 season after Mike Singletary was fired. His other stint as a head coach came in 2006 as coach of Rhein Fire in NFL Europe.
Tomsula surpassed standout defensive coordinator Vic Fangio on the coaching depth chart. Fangio has been impressive during his time as defensive coordinator, allowing the second-fewest points in the league since joining the 49ers 2011.
The decision may spell Fangio’s exit from the team. CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco reported that Fangio, who followed Harbaugh to the 49ers from Stanford, may ask for his release following Tomsula’s promotion.
Tomsula’s defensive background also does nothing to shape up a struggling 49ers offense that finished 20th in the league during a disappointing 8-8 2014 season.
Prior to Tomsula’s promotion, the 49ers looked poised to address the offensive woes by interviewing coaching candidate Adam Gase, who served as the Denver Broncos offensive coordinator. Gase was also the only coaching candidate that received multiple interviews from the 49ers as well.
The 49ers and Tomsula must now address who will run their offense in the 2015 season, after former offensive coordinator Greg Roman left the team to join Rex Ryan’s coaching staff in Buffalo.
While it is yet to be seen how the new head coach will fair during his first full season at the helm of an NFL team, Tomsula now has a large pair of khakis to fill.
During his four year tenure with the 49ers, former coach Jim Harbaugh notched an impressive 44-19-1 record as head coach. During that span, he took his team to three consecutive NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl appearance.
Following Harbaugh’s release from the team, CEO Jed York said he wanted his next head coach to be a teacher:
“I want a teacher … What I want to make sure that we have is somebody that understands that level of teaching. Understands how to get more out of less and continue to build an organization that wins both on and off the field.”
Tomsula has big expectations from his new boss as well, as York also stated that his new head coach will not be allotted any sort of grace period with his new team:
“We expect to win the Super Bowl every year. That is our goal.”
And if the 49ers new head coach can’t deliver in a timely manner?
“Then we’re going to have to figure out if that’s the right fit.”