On the heels of the announcement that Mike Singletary had been fired, 49ers President/CEO Jed York made the formal introduction of defensive line coach Jim Tomsula as the 49ers interim head coach for the final week of the 2010 NFL regular season. York and Tomsula took numerous questions and for those who missed the press conference, you can read the transcript after the jump, or check out the video at 49ers.com.
I don't have a lot of comments at this point but rather wanted to get the transcript up for folks to read over. Over the next few weeks we are going to have a whole ton of content related to the GM and coach search. As you can see at the top of this article we've got our head coach search section, and after this I'll be setting up a GM search section. Although the two positions are going to be fairly intertwined, the 49ers announced intention of finding a GM first makes it reasonable to have a separate section for that. We'll have "scouting reports" if you will about the various options and of course we'll have tons of updates until a GM is announced. After a GM is signed, sealed and delivered, we'll have plenty of content about the new guy.
As for the coaches, we'll continue discussing that as well, but I'd imagine that will take a bit of a back seat while the GM search goes on. We'll have content on it, but we'll probably have more GM content over the next week or two. Either way, Niners Nation and our story stream at SB Nation Bay Area will be the two places to keep close track of the GM and coach search in San Francisco in the coming weeks.
49ers President/CEO Jed York and Interim Head Coach Jim Tomsula
Press Conference - Monday, December 27, 2010
San Francisco 49ers
York: "Good afternoon everybody. I think you all are aware that Mike Singletary has been dismissed as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. I want to reiterate my respect for Mike as an individual. I've learned a lot with Mike over the last several years with him being at the San Francisco 49ers. Jim Tomsula is taking over as the interim head coach for this week and I want to address - why did we make this decision now, and what are we looking forward to in the future. You know obviously we had anticipations, expectations of being a playoff-caliber team this year. Whether we were a 7-9 division winner or not didn't matter to me. I wanted to make sure that the San Francisco 49ers had an opportunity to compete for a Super Bowl, which I felt like we had every expectation to do that. When that was not realized, I wanted to make sure that we were setting ourselves up for the remainder of this season, but more importantly for next season. When we look at next season, there are a lot of things that are uncertain, the labor issues, not sure when our players are getting back next season, so I wanted to make sure that we didn't have a coaching turnover or a coaching change going into that. We wanted to make sure that this week and immediately following our last game, we're focusing on our players. When I look at Jim Tomsula, you know he apologized to me for not having a suit and tie on because he didn't get a chance to go home last night because that's the kind of coach that Jim Tomsula is. He's the kind of coach that stays here every night. He's the type of guy that grinds every day, he's the kind of guy that is going to make sure that our team is focused this week and he's the kind of guy that I hope is with the San Francisco 49ers for a very long time. So I'm going to turn it over to Jim very quickly and then I will certainly be back to answer any questions that you might have."
Tomsula: "First off, I don't know if you can read any books that prepare you for these kinds of things. Mike Singletary's a friend; Mike Singletary's a good man. Everybody in the locker room, we all own some of it. Some part of it. We're in a performance-based business, our performance is our product, and we've fallen short in that area. I would like to thank Jed and the York family for having confidence in me to come in here and go through this process. In terms of the players, I think you've all been around the players and it's a really good group of men - a really good group of men. Guys that work, that are dedicated, guys that fight through and stick together. The win/loss column is not where it needs to be and we all take our share of that responsibility. So we'll go into this week, the coaching staff, good men. I think I can speak for the players and the coaches in talking about Mike Singletary and his family, they all are very good people. Extremely good people, very tight-knit family and you know this affects the whole group and you have that in a day like today. So our best wishes to the Singletary family, and I'd like to thank Mike for having me here and working for him. So with that, I'm going to let you go ahead and grill me."
On what he expects or wants to accomplish in his one week as interim head coach:
Tomsula: "Well, I break this whole thing down into a one-week calendar. That's what we have. When you get into the season you get a one-week calendar. Your long term goals are Sunday. That's what makes it a little bit unique. So what are we looking to do? We're looking to win a game. We're looking to prepare to win a game on Sunday. That's a one-week calendar. That's all the energy, all the focus, everything that we do through this week is to get to that point."
On whether he wants to be considered for the head coaching job after the season:
Tomsula: "Oh, I'm not even going to go there, not at all. I'm here. I enjoy working for the San Francisco 49ers. I have been treated tremendously - my family and I - working for this organization. I don't have a negative, alright? I love working here. This situation has occurred, I've been asked to come in this week, I have a one-week calendar. And I'm coming in and going to do the best job that I can. I pride myself on doing a good job on what I am asked to do, so that's what we're going to do and that's where my focus is."
On when he was asked to take over as interim head coach:
Tomsula: "Last night I was watching film in my office. A gentleman came down and asked me if I would please come down and see Mr. York."
On who will start at quarterback against Arizona on Sunday:
Tomsula: "Well I will tell you, we won't drag all that out. It's been a night, so later on today here when I leave, we will sit down with the personnel department and all the coaches and we'll go through all those things, look at the entire roster, go through everything that we need to go through, normal protocol. We will have an answer on that and we'll get it to you as soon as we do."
On whether he has met with the players yet:
Tomsula: "Yes ma'am. Well first thing we tried to do, you all are so efficient in how you do your jobs. One of the things I know that was important to Jed and to me was to try to speak to all the players before they read it, or before they heard it from another source. Obviously, that didn't happen because of your efficiency, but we did do that last night. All our position coaches, calling their players so that we can at least have a voice there and speak to everybody. We had a brief meeting this morning and Jed talked with the team and explained everything to them and then I took a few minutes and talked with them. They are an easy group to talk to, I mean you've been around them, it's a great group."
On whether any other coaches have left the staff:
York: "I'm sorry I didn't address that. [Pass-rush specialist coach] Al Harris and [inside linebackers coach] Vantz Singletary have also left the staff."
On whether Harris and Vantz Singletary resigned or were let go:
York: "They were let go, by me. I apologize for not addressing that earlier."
On whether there were times when it was hard to coach during the season because of turmoil:
Tomsula: "No. No. I mean, really when I - I'm not blowing smoke at you when I talk about the players and the minutes that I have. I'm not too good at the - you know, not telling you. I love working here. The defensive line group that I've been responsible for has been fantastic. Fantastic group of guys. There aren't egos. It's hard work. I mean, these guys are in on their off-day, ten hours a day working, going like crazy, digging, grinding. Absolutely love every minute I get to be with them. Can't wait to see them tomorrow. And then the rest of the team. You know, and obviously when you're in the season it's 24 hours a day, seven days a week you're with all these guys. It is a fantastic group to be around - and you all are around them, I think you sense that. So I don't want to confuse that with wins and losses. We need to have both."
On why he thinks the team didn't meet expectations:
Tomsula: "Why didn't this team meet expectations? You know, I'm not going to go there. We didn't, OK? We didn't. We did not perform. Our performance on Sundays was not where it needed to be."
On deciding on the quarterback and whether he plans to make roster moves based on saving the starters:
Tomsula: "No, we're going to win. We're going to win, okay? Let me make that clear, that was something that we talked about this morning. Jed's made it very clear, [vice president of player personnel] Trent Baalke's made it very clear, okay? Very, very crystal clear. We're going to prepare to win a football game. Crystal clear. We are preparing to go down and compete, and play to win a football game. That is, now at this time of the year, do you have - I mean we've got some injuries, we've got some things here and there, as you all know, and I'm not going to get into that, I haven't been briefed on the injury situation, OK. But there will be people playing in the game. I mean, you look at the course over the last couple of weeks, you've got some roster rotation going on. So I think as we get the injury report and things in, and as you see the substitutions that happen, it will make sense, it will all line up."
On how involved he will be in formulating the offensive and defensive game plans:
Tomsula: "Well offensive and defensive, and special teams. I wouldn't want to forget special teams. You know, one of the things that I believe in is we'll look at the Arizona Cardinals, and we'll look at the San Francisco 49ers, and we'll formulate a game plan that offensively, defensively, and special teams-wise - in all three phases, so that it all works together. It's an overall plan."
On whether he has talked to Mike Singletary since he had been let go:
Tomsula: "Yes, I did."
On how he perceived that Singletary was doing and what he said to him:
Tomsula: "Well Mike Singletary - the one thing I will say is that I don't think anybody has to worry about Mike Singletary. Mike Singletary is a strong man, with a good family. What did I say to Mike Singletary? I simply called him and apologized. We didn't get it done. That's the bottom line. I asked if he was doing alright and he said yes. But Mike Singletary is a strong man; he's a good man. And he'll be fine."
On what he learned about Singletary during adversity:
Tomsula: "What did I learn about? Mike Singletary has always been the same guy everyday when he walked in the door with me. My relationship in working for Mike Singletary, working with Mike Singletary, and my day-to-day dealings with Mike Singletary, I don't have any negative, anything negative to say. It's all been positive with me. And I've never seen Mike waiver from what he believes in. He's a strong willed man."
On how his time as the head coach of NFL Europe team Rhein Fire prepared him for taking the interim head coach position:
Tomsula: "How did my time with Rhein Fire - well, right now we don't have any interpreters in here in this press conference (laughing). This is actually one of the easiest I've ever done. And it's a lot shorter. You know, it's - look. In this game and with what we do, you know, you all are passionate about what you do, and there's nothing like being able to do what you're passionate about. So when you come into it, I mean the whole thing, life in general is about personal relationships, in my opinion. Say what you do and do what you say. I mean, there's a way to talk to people and a way to do things, and be sincere in what you're doing, have the right intentions, and work hard. You know, and that's one of the things that you get with the coaching staff that you have here. And again, I'm not defending the record, and I've already spoke about that. We all take part in that. I'm not defending that at all. But I'll tell you what, you've got some people here that work, and I still believe in that. I believe in those hard-working guys. And defensively, even with [defensive coordinator Greg] Manusky, you know, I mean, it's hard work and again - you deal with him, you get what I'm saying, I get some great laughs too. Okay, and there's an enjoyment with that. And it's a one-week, I mean that one week calendar keeps you rolling on and on and on. So when you talk about - how did that prepare you for this, it's the people that you're with. This isn't a one man show, it's not. There's a whole lot of spokes in that wheel, and you know, sometimes you get a few spokes that are broke. And you've got to fix the spokes. But then you get the tire going back the right way."
On whether he has been at the facility the entire night working:
Tomsula: "Yes ma'am."
On whether he slept at all:
Tomsula: "Why do I look pretty good (laughing)? Thank you."
York: "We'll turn it over for questions."
On whether he can assure the fan base that he has the expertise to hire a general manager:
On whom he will talk to in terms of advice on hiring a general manager:
York: "Who would you talk to if you were me? My Uncle, who's won five Super Bowls, some other folks like the [New England Patriots owners] Krafts, and folks like that, that have built championship-caliber teams, absolutely."
On whom he will specifically talk to:
York: "The Krafts, [Patriots President] Jonathan [Kraft]. I'm going to talk to a lot of people."
On whether he can give more information on who he will get advice from:
York: "No, I mean, I think my Uncle is probably the best person out there for me to talk to, there are a lot of other people that I will talk to, but my Uncle is the person that I will get the most advice from."
On what his timetable is for hiring a general manager:
York: "Timetable? We want to talk to a lot of people this week obviously. Obviousl,y there are a lot of people that are experienced, qualified, that aren't with teams. I'm going to try to knock out as many people as we can this week, and then opening it up even further if we need to, going into next week."
On whether he wants to hire a general manager and then sequentially a head coach:
York: "Yes. Yes, the general manager will hire the coach."
On whether he will go with whatever decision the general manager makes in terms of who will be named the head coach:
York: "The general manager is going to hire the coach, yes."
On how he came to the realization that the team needed a general manager after not having one this season:
York: "Well we had a general manager last year, and if you recall, Scot [McCloughan] left for reasons that, you know, weren't expected. So it's not that I'm opposed to a general manager. I believe that you should have a general manager with your team. We've been evaluating Trent [Baalke] sort of in a GM-like role this year. I've talked to a lot of people that have been in and around the game this season, trying to get their feedback on sort of how to build teams, what's been successful, what hasn't been successful, and I think when you look at some of the teams that have been successful out there, it's not about hiring the flashiest name as your GM or your head coach, or both. It's about making sure that the GM and the head coach are really working together. And I think that's why you need your general manager- and your general manager is a person that is going to live and die with your coach."
On whether he is looking for specific qualities in a head coach:
York: "Offensive-minded, defensive-minded, like that? You know, I wouldn't say we're strictly looking at an offensive -minded head coach, but I think we've had a lot of problems on the offensive side of the ball. So if it's not an offensive-minded coach, it's got to be a coach that has experience in dealing with the NFL, in dealing with putting together a staff. So I wouldn't say we're only looking at offensive minded people, but if it is a defensive minded head coach, it's got to be somebody that understands how to put an offensive staff together."
On whether he is confident that there is a candidate out there who can accomplish everything he wants from a general manager:
York: "Yeah, I think there are a lot of good people out there."
On whether he sees the general manager as being the central figure of the organization:
York: "I mean, the head coach is always going to be the face of your team; the person that you guys see every day, the person that the fans see every day. The general manager needs to be somebody that, you know, the coach reports to the general manager, but ultimately we all work for the coach when the season is here. And that's something that we want to make sure that we have. We want to make sure the general manager's a guy that is grinding behind the scenes, is the guy that's putting together the draft, is putting together the structure of the organization, but isn't necessarily out there in front every day, answering questions on a daily basis, et cetera."
On whether it is important for him to hire a head coach who has established himself as a proven winner:
York: "It's important to me to get a general manager and have the general manager select the head coach; somebody that's going to work with our general manager, somebody that's going to have a great relationship because that's when you see the teams that are successful, you know, to your point, when you look at teams that are successful, it's the teams that have that good relationship between their general manager and their head coach and they understand that everybody is on the same page."
On whether it is important to hire a general manager who has general manager experience:
York: "I think it's important to get somebody that is the right fit for the 49ers. I think we want to make sure that we look at as many people as we possibly can to come to that right conclusion."
On whether the people who do not currently have a job in the NFL are the first people he will be talking to:
York: "Well that's, I mean, that's the obviously the only people that we can talk to this week; right."
On the timeline of his decision to change coaches and whether that was made in the air:
York: "No, I think it's hard to have that type of discussion with Mike Singletary or with any person right after a football game. We had a conversation when we got back to the office and we talked through it and, I think, you know, we ended up where we are today."
On whether he had considered making that decision earlier in the season when the record wasn't what he expected it to be:
York: "I thought about it, but I think we had a chance to be a playoff team this year and I didn't think that making that change would have been the right decision for the team. You know, maybe in hind-sight that was the wrong decision, but I think when I look at our team and our performance on the field, and that's the bottom line, we just haven't gotten it done and when I look at where we are right now and where we need to be in the future, we're not a playoff-caliber team right now. We're not that caliber team that the 49ers should be."
On whether he has a date by which he would like to have a general manager hired by:
York: "No, no. There's, there's no timeframe; it's getting the right guy."
On Baalke's role going forward:
York: "I mean, Trent will be a part of this evaluation process. I mean, he's been functioning as a general manager-like person and, you know, obviously I know what Trent has done with us and it's a lot easier to evaluate someone who's here when they're actually working with you, but we need to go out and look at a lot of other people that have been there, that have done that before in the past and potentially could do it here for us in the future."
On whether he is interested to see what happens with current NFL head coaches after the season, considering the criticism he received for how quickly he hired Mike Singletary:
York: "Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, I think there will be obviously some coaches that aren't retained that are potential candidates for us. There are a lot of coaches that are on the street right now that are potential candidates for us and I think there are a lot of guys that have been coordinators that have been successful. So, there's a broad array, but that's not me putting that list together; our general manager is going to put that list together. So I'm not going to narrow it, I'm not going to say, ‘Hey, you know, you're the GM but you can't hire this guy as your head coach.' Our general manager is going to have the ability to hire whoever he wants as a head coach."
On whether he has any sense that hiring around the NFL will be impacted or hindered by the labor talks in the league:
York: "I don't know what a lot of teams are going to do. I mean, I just know that I'm not worried about just 2011; I'm worried about building a franchise that's going to be successful for the future."
On whether he will ask the Cleveland Browns for permission to talk to Browns President Mike Holmgren:
York: "I haven't asked permission to talk to anybody. The only people that we're talking to right now are people that we have the ability to talk to."
On whether Holmgren is on the list of people he wants to talk to:
York: "The only people that we're talking about right now are people that we have the ability to talk to."
On whether the next head coach will enjoy the same privileges that Mike Singletary did, such as the power over his staff and 53 man roster:
York: "I think that's going to be up to the general manager. That's not going to be my decision; our general manager will be making those decisions."
On whether Baalke is a candidate for the general manager position:
On whom he has talked to so far:
York: "I'm not going to get into names that we've talked to, but I've reached out to a couple people. Just phone calls; I have some phone calls set up this week, hopefully some in-person interviews set up. I'm not going to get into the names, but I mean, you can probably figure out some of the people that we've talked to."
On why he released Vantz Singletary and Harris:
York: "Vantz and Al? They were very, very close with Mike. I think they took this very, very tough when Mike was let go and I wanted to make sure that our players were the focus this week; we weren't dealing with, you know, issues on the coaching staff. I wanted to make sure that our coaches are here together and not worrying about, ‘What does my future look like?'" So when we're putting together our staff, I didn't want that to be on Jim Tomsula, I didn't want that to be on [defensive coordinator] Greg Manusky; that was my decision and I think that gives us the best chance to win this week."
On whether he will have say over whether the next coach will retain Tomsula and other members of the staff:
York: "Yeah, it will be his call but I think when you sit down with somebody like Jim and when you see somebody that's going to spend the nights here, spend the time and do the work that he's done; I think he's a guy that you would want to keep on your staff going forward."
On whom else from the current staff that he sees in the same light:
York: "There are a lot of coaches on this staff that I would personally like to keep, but that will obviously be the decision of our general manager and whoever our new head coach is."
On how he sees this impacting the 49ers stadium plans in Santa Clara:
York: "I don't see it affecting it at all."
On who else will be with him during interviews for the general manager position:
York: "It depends. I'll have some folks, whether they're here, whether it's my uncle who has helped set some of these things up; getting his feedback on some of these people that are potential candidates. So it depends on who will be there, but it will probably be just me and, and I will be the one that's hiring the general manager."
On whether his father, owner and co-chairman Dr. John York, and executive vice president of football and business operations Paraag Marathe will be in those interviews:
York: "No it will be just me, like I just said."
On whether he sees Baalke as being a part of the organization even if he doesn't get the general manager job:
York: "That'll be up to our GM."