49ers Promote Jim Tomsula to Head Coach

Longtime defensive line coach Jim Tomsula announced as the 49ers' coach to succeed Jim Harbaugh after a nationwide search

Jim Tomsula has been a respected and effective coach in the NFL.

But on Wednesday, when multiple reports surfaced that the 49ers will be promoting their 46-year-old defensive line coach to head coach, the news wasn’t greeted with much enthusiasm around the nation and among the 49ers fan base.

Tomsula, who’s been with the team since 2007, has been a head coach for just one game in the NFL, serving as interim coach of the 49ers in 2010 just before Jim Harbaugh's arrival. But before coming to San Francisco he had been head coach of the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe in 2006, coaching his team to a 6-4 record.

After parting ways with Jim Harbaugh after this past season, when San Francisco finished 8-8, the 49ers searched nationally for a successor.

They interviewed Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase twice. They also interviewed Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, former Broncos/Raiders/Washington coach Mike Shanahan, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, ex-Jets head coach Rex Ryan, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Also, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was considered to be the front-runner on the existing 49ers staff.

Instead, it’s Tomsula.

The team officially announced the promotion Wednesday afternoon on Twitter and a press release.

"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,” 49ers CEO Jed York said in a statement. "Jim is a great teacher and a tremendous mentor who conducts himself with great class and integrity."

Albert Breer of the NFL Network tweeted that the 49ers called Gase in Denver to tell him they were going with someone else. Gase had interviewed with the 49ers a second time on Tuesday.

Many 49ers fans Wednesday afternoon weren’t impressed with the choice by CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke.

Tweeted one: “So after two weeks of searching for a head coach the best Jed and Trent can do is Jim Tomsula?” Wrote another: “I can’t wait to learn what coaching skills Jim Tomsula has that Jim Harbaugh doesn’t.” Wrote a third: “Let me get this straight. York ran Harbaugh out of town for Jim Tomsula?!?!?!”

Because of the personality clash between Baalke and York with Harbaugh, the perception by some is that the leadership duo of the team found a cheaper and more pliable head coach than Harbaugh or any of the other national candidates.

Tomsula, however, is a fiery personality with excellent teaching abilities. Defensive linemen and linebackers who play for him have long raved about him as a coach, teacher, communicator and leader. And, he can be tough. This past season it was Tomsula who benched linebacker Ahmad Brooks for missing a meeting.

His hiring likely means that the team will lose Fangio. Some reports are suggesting that former Raiders head coach Dennis Allen or ex-Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver (who previously coached with Tomsula) may be in line to become Tomsula’s defensive coordinator.

It also means Tomsula will need to find an innovative offensive coordinator to get the struggling 49ers offense going again.

Getting the most out of Colin Kaepernick while maintaining a strong defense – and filling Harbaugh’s very large shoes -- will now be Tomsula’s very large task.

Tomsula is scheduled to be formally introduced as head coach during a press conference Thursday at Levi's Stadium.

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