Jed York has taken his share of abuse this offseason as CEO of the 49ers.
Now he might be opening the door for even more.
York and general manager Trent Baalke didn’t see eye-to-eye with head coach Jim Harbaugh after four seasons, so Harbaugh and the team parted company. Now Harbaugh – 44-19-1 in those four seasons with three trips to the NFC Championship Game and a Super Bowl – is at the University of Michigan and the 49ers are being led by Jim Tomsula.
Tomsula, formerly the 49ers’ defensive line coach, has a perfect record as an NFL head coach, having won his only game as an interim leader of the team in 2010.
Otherwise, he’s a giant question mark.
But not, apparently, to York.
In a long story by Emily Kaplan of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback, posted Wednesday, York compares his promotion of Tomsula to the Golden State Warriors hiring Steve Kerr, who took them to the NBA championship this year.
York says Tomsula brings a change of culture to the organization that was needed. Where many outside the organization believe Tomsula was promoted because he won’t challenge York and Baalke the way Harbaugh did, York has said Tomsula brings a genuine personality and willingness to coach and communicate that were lacking in the Harbaugh era.
Since becoming head coach, Tomsula has made it a priority to improve communication within the organization – with the front office, his staff and players. As Kaplan writes, he’s moved the head coach’s office to a spot on the first floor of the 49ers’ facility where players will have to constantly pass by his open door.
York believes in Tomsula, even if others don’t, because he sees Tomsula as a teacher and motivator.
“Culture is huge,” York told Kaplan. “That’s the difference between a championship-caliber team and a championship team. You look at the Golden State Warriors. They were the dumbest team in the NBA for letting Mark Jackson go, who won the most games in the franchise’s history. How could you be so dumb? They bring in Steve Kerr, who has been around the game for a long period of time, but has never coached before. Kerr changes the culture, comes in with a different perspective, and look what happens.”
As Kevin Patra of NFL.com notes, it’s apparent in Kaplan’s story that most 49ers players think highly of Tomsula and are eager to play for him.
“I’ve only been here a short time,” running back Reggie Bush told Kaplan. “But I can already tell how much respect this team has for him.”
But Tomsula takes over a team that has lost key players such as Frank Gore, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Mike Iupati, Anthony Davis, Chris Borland and Michael Crabtree this offseason.
“As we sit one week before training camps open, we still have doubts whether or not Tomsula can overcome the talent drain on the field,” wrote Patra, adding: “Kerr certainly didn’t have to deal with losses like that in his first season.”