Jim Tomsula is a teacher, which is something Jed York said he wanted from his next head coach. He has experience at all coaching levels, including one game as the team’s interim head coach, which the 49ers won before hiring Jim Harbaugh.
However, this is a dark day for the franchise.
It was rumored that Tomsula would someday replace Harbaugh for years, and that day has finally come. According to reports, Tomsula will become the team’s next head coach after a process that saw the front office interview several candidates. Tomsula may end up doing a fine job, and it’s unfair to rip his qualifications. But it’s fair to call the actions and decisions of York, Trent Baalke and Paraag Marathe into question, which I’ll do here.
Tomsula appears to be the cheap hire. We’ll see if he makes as much as Harbaugh ($5M per year) before rushing to judgment, but Tomsula wasn’t getting any other head coaching offers. He wasn’t even a coordinator. Would he say no to a raise that brought his annual salary to say, $3 million?
Tomsula appears to be the agreeable hire. In effect, this is the guy that York and Baalke can control. “Yes sir, I will refrain from yelling at officials, sir.”
Yes to Tomsula means no more Vic Fangio. The names being thrown around as Fangio’s replacement: Dennis Allen and Jason Tarver. So, the 49ers are going from one of the best defensive coordinators in the world to some generic assistant.
All that talk about history and the 49ers museum was bogus.
You know, when I picture the Bill Walsh Coaching Tree, Jim Tomsula is the first name that comes to mind
— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) January 14, 2015
Not that I thought they’d hire Mike Shanahan or Mike Holmgren (or that I even thought either man was the right hire), but how exactly is Tomsula going to improve this team’s greatest weakness over the last few years: the offense? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see who Tomsula tabs as his offensive coordinator.
The 49ers failed to land Adam Gase. Baalke flew to Denver and talked to Gase, then the 49ers hired Tomsula the next day. Even if Gase said something that gave Baalke and/or York pause (which we’d never find out, because the 49ers lack transparency), that’s a bad look. Unlike in 2011 when they signed Harbaugh away from Miami, Michigan and other spots, the 49ers didn’t get their man today. Unless …
This was the plan all along. How are we to believe that the 49ers didn’t want to hire Tomsula for months? Clearly he’s not someone who’s going to please the SBL-holders, so maybe they figured it’d be best to look like they at least TRIED to find a coach who’d be a better fit. It was always strange that they had “officially” interviewed all of these other candidates — including Fangio — but there was never word about an official interview with Tomsula. Maybe such formalities weren’t required.
The whole thing is strange. The 49ers have five Lombardi trophies and a ritzy stadium, which would lead one to believe they’d hire a highly sought after candidate. They also had some defensive players throwing their support toward Fangio.
No one was calling for this team to hire Tomsula, but the 49ers aren’t worried. They’ve got your money. They’ve got the rights to the uniforms you adore. You’ll just have to watch an extension of York and Baalke try to teach the players and lead this team better than Harbaugh, even though the players will probably see through this hire just like everyone else.
Again, this is horribly unfair to Tomsula. He seems to have a great personality (I say this mostly from watching him during practices and before games), and the defensive lines he’s coached have performed well over the years. But just like Harbaugh’s situation in 2014, perception is reality. If Tomsula is perceived to be the cheap, agreeable hire who’ll do as he’s told, he’s going to have a very difficult time convincing anyone that the 49ers made the right choice. Not that the 49ers care.