While many fans reel in their post-Harbaugh hangover, the San Francisco 49ers have wasted no time ramping up their search for a new head coach.
The 49ers have reportedly already interviewed top internal candidate Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio on Tuesday, and have plans to meet with defensive line coach Jim Tomsula by week’s end as well.
Fangio earned the endorsement of one 49ers star when LB NaVarro Bowman told reporters Monday he would like to see Fangio return to the team, as either the defensive coordinator or head coach:
“I would like to see him here. We’ve built so much chemistry with him. He’s a great human being and I would definitely listen to him on a head coaching level. What you see is what you get with Vic.”
Were Fangio to secure the job, it would mark his debut as a head coach at the NFL level, having held multiple defensive assistant jobs with a variety of teams since coming into the league in 1986. Fangio’s work with the depleted 49ers defense this season was commendable, though neither he nor Tomsula would offer much in the way of fixing the 49ers offensive woes.
The 49ers have a slew of offensive minded coaches lined up as well, as they are reported to meet with New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Denver’s Adam Gase.
With McDaniels and Gase running the fourth and 11th ranked offenses in the NFL, the move could be a step to turn around San Francisco’s 20th ranked offense. 2014 saw a talented group of receivers and running backs vastly underperform under current OC Greg Roman.
McDaniels track record as head coach doesn’t provide much in the way of comfort while trying to follow Harbaugh’s impressive 44-19-1 regular season record during his four years with the 49ers.
McDaniels held the head coaching position of the Denver Broncos for two years beginning in 2009, where he posted a 11-17 record during that span, including a horrendous 2010 season in which he went 3-9 before being fired.
Gase served time with the 49ers staff in 2008 as an offensive assistant to Mike Nolan, and is slated to interview with San Francisco on Friday according to NFL Network’s Michael Silver.
Since Gase took over as Broncos offensive coordinator position in 2013, Denver has a 25-7 record while consistently ranking near the top of NFL offenses. Much of that success falls on the shoulders of legendary quarterback Peyton Manning and his talented group of receivers.
A hiring of Gase may help 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick. After stints as a quarterback coach with both Denver and the Detroit Lions, it will remain to be seen if Gase’s offense would be suited for the young and raw quarterback.
Other coordinators the 49ers are rumored to be targeting are Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Arizona Cardinals DC Todd Bowles. Former New York Jets coach Rex Ryan and former Washington coach Mike Shanahan have also been reported in the mix.
Ryan, who is reported to have interviews scheduled with both the 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons, has the personality to fill in the void left by the dynamic Harbaugh. However, Ryan’s 46-50 record with the Jets leaves a little to be desired.
Longtime coach Shanahan reportedly received a key pair of endorsements Sunday, as a Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole said former 49ers legends Steve Young and Joe Montana were pushing for San Francisco to hire the former Washington coach.
Shanahan is no stranger to the 49ers organization, having worked as the offensive coordinator for the team for two years under George Seifert beginning in 1992.
Shanahan’s years of experience in the NFL could be attractive to CEO Jed York, who said the most important quality he was looking for in a coach was the ability to act as a teacher.
Shanahan’s pair of Super Bowl victories may be yet another alluring quality to York, who said Monday that he expects his new head coach to be able to win the Super Bowl within their first years in the organization.
Harbaugh will remain a tough person to replace both in terms of his dynamic with the team and his ability to win. York has asked fans to trust his judgement during the upcoming process.
“I think we’ve demonstrated that we can make good hires. My uncle swung and missed many times. And I’ve had great conversations with him about making sure you get the right group of people and the people that understand what you want as an organization, and that’s what we’re doing. And again, I’ll be the first to tell you, if we aren’t winning a Super Bowl, you should hold me accountable. You should jump down my throat. I welcome that and I’m ready for the challenge.”