No man defined the Monsters of the Midway more than San Francisco 49ers' head coach and Hall of Fame middle linebacker Mike Singletary.
As Chicago steamrolled the NFL to a 15-1 record, Singletary won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and led the relentless defensive unit to the number one ranking overall (and probably the number one defense in NFL history) culminating with a 46-10 dismantling of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX.
Terry Blount of the Houston Post described the intense Singletary as "the best middle linebacker in football" and "the heart of the Chicago Bears defense."
The anchor of the world champion 1985 Chicago Bears was also the original "Minister of Defense," before the great Reggie White was given the same title. The ordained minister's physical tackling style broke 16 of his own helmets at Baylor, but he never got hurt. Chicago critics even compared him to Hall of Famer Dick Butkus who played the same position.
Head coach Mike Ditka and defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan adored Singletary because of his serious attitude, even at practice. He drove himself through Jerry Rice-like offseason workouts to arrive at training camp ready to knock heads. The undersized defender even lost 20 pounds, gaining speed to cover running backs and tight ends.
Then he begged Ryan, the 46 defense innovator, to let him play every down.
Singletary's passion for his craft earned him the moniker "Samurai" due to his disciplined and meticulous approach to the game. He lived by the mantra of "knowledge is power, the power to be in control" and once told a reporter that "perfection is attainable but only through ceaseless effort."
Fans loved the bone crushing hitter for his athletic ability and the class he exhibited on and off the field. Coaches loved him because of his almost inhuman work ethic.
Singletary decided the 1992 season would be his last, retiring from the savage game of football at the age of 34 while still on top of his game. In an emotional ceremony at Soldier Field on December 13, 1992, Chicago fans bid farewell to Mike Singletary as the Bears retired his No. 50.
Next stop, Canton, Ohio.
In 1998, Singletary was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after an incredible career where he finished with 1,488 tackles (885 solo), named to the NFL Team of the 80's and was selected to play in a Chicago Bears' team record 10 consecutive Pro Bowls.
Five years later Singletary would fulfill another one of his dreams, coaching football.
In 2002, a group of Baylor University alumni wanted Singletary for the school's open head coach vacancy but the position went to Guy Morriss. So he took a job as linebackers coach in 2003 with the Baltimore Ravens, pairing Singletary with multi time Pro Bowler Ray Lewis.
When former Ravens' defensive coordinator Mike Nolan became head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, he brought Singletary along to be a part of his staff.
Singletary interviewed for the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers head coaching vacancies in 2007 but was ultimately passed over. When Morriss left Baylor after the 2007 season, Singletary appeared to be the front runner for the open position but he decided against taking it.
On October 20, 2008, Singletary fulfilled another life goal when he was promoted to interim head coach of the San Francisco 49ers after Mike Nolan and his suit was unceremoniously fired.
Singletary immediately shook up the lackluster 49ers by sending maligned tight end Vernon Davis to the locker room after he slapped Seahawks' safety Brian Russell on the facemask after a reception.
He even dropped his pants in front of the entire team at halftime in the attempt to fire them up.
In one of the most memorable post game coach press conferences ever, Singletary berated Davis' actions as "uncoachable" and said that he would rather play with a 10 man team.
"Cannot play with them, cannot win with them, cannot coach with them, can't do it," Singletary yelled after the 34-13 defeat at home to divison rival Seattle.
The inspired 49ers would finish 5-4 and second place in the NFC West under "Samurai" Mike's tutelage.
After defeating the Washington Redskins 27-24 on December 28, 2008, General Manager Scot McCloughan announced the signing of a four year, $10-million contract for the legendary Mike Singletary to become the 16th head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
Mike Singletary's strong leadership now has the 49er Faithful abuzz this offseason.
Many in the NFL work for the money or the fame but this unique human being is not one of those people. Head coach Mike Singletary is a true ambassador of the game and the heart and soul of the 2009 San Francisco 49ers.
Now let's take a look at the rest of the 2009 San Francisco 49ers' coaching staff.
Offensive Coordinator - Jimmy Raye
The former Michigan State quarterback enjoyed a solid collegiate career, leading the Spartans to two Big Ten titles and an appearance in the 1966 Rose Bowl. He has served as offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams (1983-1984 and 1991), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1985-1986), New England Patriots (1990), Kansas City Chiefs (1998-2000), Washington Redskins (2001) and was also the assistant head coach of the Oakland Raiders (2004-2005). Raye brings over 30 years of coaching experience to the San Francisco 49ers' offense.
Offensive Line Coach - Chris Foerster
The 15-year NFL coaching veteran spent the last three years with the Ravens. Before joining Baltimore, Foerster was offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins (2004), Indianapolis Colts' tight ends coach (2002-2003), the Tampa Buccaneers' offensive line coach (1996-2001) and assistant offensive line/tight ends coach for the Minnesota Vikings (1993-1995).
Quarterbacks Coach - Mike Johnson
Served as Baltimore's wide receivers' coach from 2006 to 2007. Johnson played five pro seasons at quarterback, beginning his career with the Phoenix (Arizona) Cardinals in 1990. Prior to joining the Ravens, Johnson spent three years as quarterbacks coach for the Atlanta Falcons, mentoring three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Michael Vick.
Wide Receivers Coach - Jerry Sullivan
Sullivan has 18 years of NFL coaching experience, highlighted by two seasons as offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals. In 2003, Sullivan was promoted to offensive coordinator where he tutored rookie wide receiver Anquan Boldin, the eventual NFL Rookie of the Year and NFC Pro Bowl starter.
Running Backs Coach - Tom Rathman
Former fullback was a fan favorite and won two world championships during his days as a San Francisco 49er. Rathman previously coached the 49ers' running backs from 1997 to 2002. After leaving with 49ers' head coach Steve Mariucci, he held the same position with the Detroit Lions (2003-2005) and Oakland Raiders (2006-2008).
Tight Ends Coach - Pete Hoener
Hoener is a five year veteran of the San Francisco coaching staff. Hoener joined the 49ers after the 2004 season when he was the offensive line coach of the Chicago Bears. Hoener also spent three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals as offensive line coach (2003) and tight ends coach (2001-2002).
Offensive Assistant - Jason Michael
Former quarterback played for West Kentucky from 1999 to 2002 and was named team MVP as a senior. He recently served as tight ends coach for the University of Tennessee in 2008 after spending the previous two years on the New York Jets' coaching staff. During his first year with the Jets in 2006, Michael served as quality control coach, where he worked with the quarterbacks for offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
Defensive Coordinator - Greg Manusky
The former linebacker had a reputation as an extremely physical and hard nosed player during his playing career for the Washington Redskins (1988-1990), Minnesota Vikings (1991-1993) and Kansas City Chiefs (1994-1999). After retiring, he spent the 2000 season as a volunteer at Tampa Bay Buccaneers' training camp where he worked with special teams and linebackers. As a member of the Washington Redskins' coaching staff in 2001, his tutelage earned LaVar Arrington Pro Bowl honors. As San Diego's linebackers coach, Manusky turned the Chargers' linebacking corps into one of the best in the league highlighted by Pro Bowl selections for Shawne Merriman in 2006. Junior Seau and Donnie Edwards also earned Pro Bowl honors in 2002. Known for his teaching abilities, Manusky is also known to be a passionate workhorse.
Defensive Line Coach - Jim Tomsula
Former Rhein Fire head coach of the now defunct NFL Europe. At 38-years old, Tomsula was the youngest head coach in NFL Europe's history. Tomsula also served as the Berlin Thunder's defensive coordinator culminating with a World Bowl XII victory in 2004. Tomsula's defense also ranked first in NFL Europe during that championship year.
Pass Rush Specialist - Al Harris
Former NFL standout spent 11 seasons in the NFL and played with Mike Singletary as a member of the Chicago Bears (1979-1984, 1986-1988) and also for the Philadelphia Eagles (1989-1990) after being selected out of Arizona State as the ninth overall pick in the 1979 NFL Draft.
Inside Linebackers Coach - Vantz Singletary
Vantz Singletary enters his first season with the 49ers after 17 successful seasons in college football, his most recent stop with the 2008 MAC champion Buffalo Bulls under Turner Gill. Mike Singletary's nephew also spent two seasons as defensive line coach at Tennessee and seven seasons at Hawaii. In Singletary's first season at Hawaii in 1999, the Warriors finished 9-4 and won the Jeep O'Ahu Bowl after the team went 0-12 the year before. The defensive unit accounted for five touchdowns, 17 interceptions, 33 sacks and 17 fumble recoveries. He has coached Cardinals defensive end Travis Laboy, who earned All-Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-WAC honors.
Outside Linebackers Coach - Jason Tarver
Tarver enters his ninth season with the 49ers and fifth as the outside linebackers coach. His first three seasons with the 49ers were spent as offensive quality control coach before he became the assistant running backs/offensive assistant coach in 2004. A Northern California native, Tarver played defensive back at Foothill High in Pleasanton and attended Santa Clara University but played football at West Valley College since the Broncos cut their football program.
Secondary - Vance Joseph
Joseph enters his fifth season in San Francisco and fourth as co-secondary coach. He joined the 49ers after spending 2004 as defensive backs coach at Bowling Green State University. He also worked at his alma mater, the University of Colorado, for two seasons (2002-2003).
Secondary - Johnnie Lynn
Lynn enters his fifth season in San Francisco (third consecutive) after being named the 49ers secondary coach on February 14, 2006. He shares secondary duties with Vance Joseph. This marks the second time in Lynn's coaching career that he has coached 49ers defensive backs, the first time in 1996. Lynn previously served as secondary coach of the Baltimore Ravens in 2004 and 2005. Lynn also spent seven seasons with the New York Giants, coaching the secondary for five seasons (1997-2001) before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2002. In his first season as defensive coordinator, the Giants ranked third in scoring defense and allowed only 17.4 points per game. Prior to coaching the 49ers in 1996, Lynn served as secondary coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1994.
Special Teams Coordinator - Al Everest
A world renowned teacher, Everest brings more than 36 years of coaching experience to the San Francisco 49ers' coaching staff. Under Everest's tutelage, Andy Lee, Allen Rossum and Michael Robinson were all named Pro Bowl alternates. From 2000 to 2005, Everest served as the special teams coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, coaching three Pro Bowlers during that span culminating with the 2002 NFL Special Teams Coach of the Year award.
Assistant Special Teams Coach - Dave Fipp
Fipp enters his second season after working with the San Jose State Spartans. He served as defensive coordinator and also held the titles of co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach during his time at San Jose.
Quality Control Coach - Shane Day
Day joined the San Francisco 49ers after two seasons as the assistant quarterbacks and quality control coach at the University of Michigan. Duties include opponent film breakdown and recruiting.
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach - Duane Carlisle
Carlisle was promoted to Head Strength and Conditioning coach on January 9, 2008 after spending the previous three seasons as the assistant strength and conditioning coach. Heis responsible for overseeing the team's strength and conditioning program and the nutritional program. During his time as an assistant, he served under legendary strength and conditioning coach Johnny Parker, a 20-year NFL veteran with three Super Bowl championships.
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach - Mark Uyeyama
Uyeyama enters his second season in San Francisco after he was hired on January 21, 2008. He previously served as head strength and conditioning coach for Utah State from 2004 to 2007.