Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Coaching Search May End in Denver

Jan 13, 2015 at 2:31 PM33

The San Francisco 49ers' coaching search may be coming to an end as team general manager Trent Baalke and possibly others are in Denver right now for a second interview with Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Team CEO Jed York and president Paraag Marathe were in the first interview alongside Baalke on January 2 in Denver.

The team's next move is an important one. York and company have already been bashed by the media and the fans for allowing the departure of former head coach Jim Harbaugh, who quickly found refuge at his alma mater, the University of Michigan. Management has the difficult task of replacing the successful and popular coach with someone that can be just as, if not more, successful. Failing to do so could mark the decision to move on from Harbaugh as one of the biggest blunders under York's watch.

The 49ers appear to be heavily pursuing Gase, who must have had a fantastic first interview. The team must have figured that his availability would not come until after January 18, possibly not even until after the Super Bowl. The Broncos' early departure from the playoffs moved that timetable up.

Of course, Denver is also interested in Gase, along with defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, to replace John Fox who unexpectedly "parted ways" with the Broncos on Monday. That Jed York sure is a trendsetter.

The 49ers have an advantage over the Broncos if they truly want to make Gase their head coach. The Broncos still need to fulfill the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. The 49ers have already fulfilled this requirement so they can hire Gase immediately should they choose to do so. They Broncos will have to wait. In fact, the 49ers got to Gase first and Broncos general manager John Elway is waiting on deck to meet with Gase after his visit with the 49ers.

For fans, there's a lot of unknowns associated with Gase. After all, how much of what the Broncos have done in the past couple of years was him and not their future Hall of Fame quarterback, Peyton Manning. In fact, his biggest backer has been Manning. The two are close and Manning thought so much of Gase that he personally called other teams to let them know what a strong candidate Gase is. Of course, this was all before his own team was in need of a head coach.

There is more to Gase than you may have thought. Here is an excellent read by Robert Klempko about Gase (and two others) that may help you realize why the 49ers are so infatuated with the 36-year old. Of course, the article points out that Gase thrives in the passing game. The Broncos' rushing rankings under his tenure have been less impressive while the 49ers strength in recent years has been the running game.

In the article, Mike Martz says, "[Adam Gase] puts guys in position to have success. It would be easy to do the same stuff over and over, but each week he's going to create."

While I am not sold on Gase just yet, it looks like the 49ers may be going all in. There is always that worry that coaches like him are just the product of their talented rosters and the only way to know for sure would be to throw them into the lion's den. It would be a bold move for a 49ers management group that is trying to regain the trust of the fans.

The 49ers previously interviewed Rex Ryan for the head coaching job. Fans can send the Buffalo Bills a thank you muffin basket for making sure that did not happen.

The 49ers have also shown interest in Dan Quinn, the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, Teryl Austin, the defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions, and Todd Bowles, the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals. However, if you are going to go with a defensive minded coach, why not go with Vic Fangio, who is already familiar with the organization and highly regarded among the players and staff? There is also speculation that Fangio would not be willing to remain with the team if he is passed up for the head coaching job. Of course, if true, that would likely be determined by who the 49ers bring in. While Fangio has already been formally interviewed by the 49ers, word out of Santa Clara is that defensive line coach Jim Tomsula remains the top internal candidate.

I am typically against the idea of bringing in anyone that has been fired by another team or has been out of coaching for a good amount of time. A good example is Mike Holmgren, who was never really on the 49ers' radar anyway. I just like the idea of finding a potentially fresh mind with new ideas. There is more risk, but possibly more potential. However, the idea of bringing in Mike Shanahan, the former head coach of the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos, was a bit intriguing. He may still be a top candidate if the 49ers don't land Gase in the next day or two. Under this scenario, the 49ers may even land his son Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, to take over for Greg Roman, who departed for Buffalo. Maybe the Bills should get two muffin baskets.

Then there is Josh McDaniels, the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots and a candidate the 49ers appear very high on. His availability is unknown as his team looks primed to make a Super Bowl run.

What about the other candidates? It certainly looks like Gase is the 49ers' frontrunner right now with Shanahan and Tomsula as backup plans. Is Gase the guy that they have been waiting on? Or do they have their eyes on others as well? We'll probably find out in the next few hours. His earlier than expected availability has helped his case. What about a guy like Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton? He may be available as early as this weekend. He's done a tremendous job in Indianapolis. Is he even on the team's radar?

Whoever the new coach is, the expectations will be high with York and Baalke's reputation on the line. Hopefully this time, they can get along with whoever they hire.

Who do you want as the 49ers' new head coach? Leave your pick in the comments below.


Todd Bowles was hired as the new coach of the New York Jets today. Why is this relevant? Because there is now an open defensive coordinator position in Arizona that Fangio may be interested in if Tomsula gets the 49ers' head coaching job over him. Fangio and Bruce Arians coached together in Indianapolis.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Jerry p
    I don't care now who they try to get as head coach. It won't matter! The niners will have 5 years to make up what yhey lost with Harbaugh! It will be the biggest blunder of York and he knows it. Bad karma produces Bad results. If York was general manager back when he would have fired Walsh!
    Jan 15, 2015 at 7:37 AM
  • BILAL19
    Now this is a head scratcher, Tomsula? I hope he has some offensive game planning experience and a QB in mind because he reminds me of Singletary 2.0, a great motivator but nothing else.
    Jan 15, 2015 at 6:00 AM
  • Mikesf
    I cannot believe that Tomsula is the new coach. With the previous hiring prior to Harbaugh, we went from bad to worst: Erickson, Nolan, and Singletarty. Now we gone back to worst. Shanahan should have been the choice. Marc Tressmen coming back? Hell, we will now have the three Amigos on the sideline (Fangio won't be there). I am very disappointed of the selection and I will eat my hat if Tomsula win a Super Bowl.
    Jan 14, 2015 at 5:23 PM
  • Lvmy9rs
    Tomsula!!!!!!!!Harbaugh to Tomsula???????? and Tressman.............Here we go back into the dark ages...........see you in 3 years
    Jan 14, 2015 at 3:28 PM
  • Dwight
    Definitely, absolutely, without a doubt Vic Fangio. He has done a tremendous job since he's been there. This is a no brainer.
    Jan 14, 2015 at 10:28 AM
  • BILAL19
    Here we go again, look guys. Our problem is Kaeps poor play, mechanics, route conceps and reading coverages. No matter who the HC is, Kaep is still Krap. And until he becomes a NFL caliber QB NOT GIMMICK OR RUNNING QB, He will always be our weakest link!
    Jan 14, 2015 at 9:34 AM
  • RishikeshA
    Thanks David, I've been waiting for your response on the situation. This whole process shows that someone like Jim Harbaugh does not come around too often. This is a team that needs experience on the sidelines. A Gase type would have been a good choice in 2005. It's 2015 and most of us think that the team can contend. Someone like Gase succeeding in his first gig would be the exception rather than the rule.
    Jan 14, 2015 at 3:28 AM
  • victor salazar
    Jan 13, 2015 at 10:43 PM
  • Richard Norris
    I Feel It Would Be Good For The Team To Hire The Whole Shanahan Package. This Package Would Then Fill The Whole Package HC, OC, And DC. Fangio Stated The Only Option That Will Keep Him With The Team If Not Hired As The HC Himself Is If Mike Shanahan Receives The HC Job. I Do Like Fangio But Shanahan Does Have The HC Experience And Years Ago He Was An Assistant Under Bill Walsh. This Could Be A Blessing Especially If It Shuts The Media Up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO 9ERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Jan 13, 2015 at 9:36 PM
  • 16to80
    I stopped reading at "found refuge at Michigan." It just so happens that Harbaugh leaves for Michigan with a year still left on his contract. Why? Because no NFL organization was going to offer Jim Harbaugh full control over personnel. He's making the same money in Michigan as he was in San Fran. The only difference is, now he's in control of the whole shabang.
    Jan 13, 2015 at 9:27 PM
  • Karmonaus Washington
    I think they need to hire Mike Shanahan because he is a original 49er,if they hire Mr.Shanahan he need to let Kapernick do what he do like Russell Wilson just play ball and they will win a few Super Bowls:):)
    Jan 13, 2015 at 8:56 PM
  • sean
    Adam gase
    Jan 13, 2015 at 8:10 PM
  • TorontoTom
    Fangio. Hire Fangio. He's a brilliant football mind, a leader, respected by the players and refreshingly candid. Most of all, he's shown the ability to turn younger players and under-appreciated vets into solid starters. Not much of that lately on the offensive side of the football. Hire Fangio!
    Jan 13, 2015 at 7:43 PM
  • javiro gutierrez
    Pss el quin d halcones marinos parece cer un buen candidato, pero ay otros tambiem q suenan inportantes,pero d todo corazon ojala q elijan al mejor para aserlos campiones amis 49 ers niners. I love you niners
    Jan 13, 2015 at 7:20 PM
  • A. Lopez
    Darrell Bevell oc from Seahawks. He knows how to work with mobile qb's. And he would knows how to beat the Seahawks.
    Jan 13, 2015 at 6:55 PM
  • Monsterniner
    We´re gonna get Mike Martz 2.0 and that sucks to me because the only QB´s that have succeded in that long-pass system are Kurt Warner and Peyton Manning whom are HOFers and right now we have Kaepernick who still has to learn to play QB. If we lose Fangio and the defense goes down I´m sure that Baalke will lose his job in 2 years along with Gase and Kaep. I see a lot of risk if we hire Gase.
    Jan 13, 2015 at 6:31 PM
  • Cody Anderson
    Jan 13, 2015 at 6:22 PM
    Response: I would have loved Gruden too. Unfortunately, he signed a contract extension back in December that will keep him with ESPN until 2021.
  • alex
    I am no genious like the rest of you but # 1 I was O.K. with J.H.going else where ,why? he was on the way DOWN not UP .#2 Any one they get its because they know more than you and me, #3 Stop being silly about Manning being an O.C. for any team. /? How many highly paid ex players do you see around the league coaching? he will play a lot of golf and BS on tv like the rest of them do. The 49ers will be better this year trust me. much better. they have the horses ,they need some one to drive them.
    Jan 13, 2015 at 6:13 PM
  • Jarvis
    Well I love Fangio as our DC, but not as our HC so if hiring the Shanahans is what it takes for Vic to stay in the Bay then hire mike Shanahan please! Gase has to be successful as a HC somewhere first before he wins me over, I need experience ASAP. I don't see him teaching Kap or making this offense good without Manning, The Thomas wr's, ect. He just had a great roster in Denver, unfortunately we don't. Boldin and Stevie J are the only wr worth keeping, crab, Lloyd, Davis, can go else where and we can get some receivers with the money we'll save releasing Vernon and brooks, and maybe Iupati due to the big contracts they want
    Jan 13, 2015 at 5:40 PM
  • Dallas Niner Fan
    It doesn't matter as long as we have Balkee and Dork we will not be successful. Leadership comes from the top.
    Jan 13, 2015 at 5:03 PM
  • Frank
    David, Very well-balanced article, nice to see after so many blogs about why this or that candidate is no good and so horrible for the Niners. Way too much drama out there. Gase is a highly respected offensive coach by many NFL analysts. I surely wouldn't be opposed to them hiring him. Neither would I be opposed to Mike Shanahan or Todd Bowles. The former's got arguably the strongest resume, while Bowles is a more experienced coach than Gase. Whichever way they go, I think all are highly qualified to take the job.
    Jan 13, 2015 at 4:56 PM
  • Danny borden
    Hire fucking mike shanahan ..if you do I Vic fangio will leave ...he wants mike shanahan
    Jan 13, 2015 at 4:55 PM
  • danol
    I am leaning toward the Shanahan package. I like Gase a lot but I would prefer someone who has had success with more than one quarterback. We already had a quarterback whisperer who looks like he received more benefit from Luck that Luck received from him.
    Jan 13, 2015 at 4:36 PM
  • John
    I LOVE the idea of Gase/Manning HC/OC combo. Never thought of that. We all know Manning will coach someday. This would also eliminate the question "will Gase be successful without Manning?" if he has Manning as OC they can work their mastery on kap. If those two can't fix kap nobody can. If Peyton wants to take some time off between playing and coaching that could screw up my little fantasy. Bottom line is that I love this idea. Manning has been an OC for the last 14 years. Hes experienced!
    Jan 13, 2015 at 4:34 PM
  • Augie
    I was really hoping we bring in the Shanahans', Fangio sounds pissed and seems like he ain't afraid to leave the 49ers. What ever move York makes better be a good one.
    Jan 13, 2015 at 4:06 PM
  • AlCapone408
    Mike and Kyle Shanahan please!
    Jan 13, 2015 at 4:06 PM
  • dReed
    Both utilize the read option well, and I don't want to hear that nfl has caught up to the trickery. Watch a sea game, they run it more than anyone.....
    Jan 13, 2015 at 3:47 PM
  • dReed
    1-Urban Meyer 2-Shanahan and sons
    Jan 13, 2015 at 3:43 PM
  • Barry Baker
    I like the idea of Gase Head Coach, Peyton as Offensive Coordinator and Keep Fangio as Defence with a raise he can't refuse. That would be exciting !!
    Jan 13, 2015 at 3:28 PM
  • James
    I am more immpressed with what gase did with tebow than with manning and how can you explain not being able to move ball with manning on Seahawks
    Jan 13, 2015 at 3:28 PM

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