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Who are the candidates for 49ers head coach?

The San Francisco 49ers need to figure out their next head coach, as Jim Harbaugh appears set to leave for Michigan. We begin the process of compiling a list of potential candidates.

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The San Francisco 49ers wrap up their 2014 season Sunday afternoon, but it is pretty clear the team is already on the lookout for a new head coach for the 2015 season. Reports have Jim Harbaugh headed to the University of Michigan as soon as Monday, with a press conference scheduled for Tuesday. Harbaugh's close friend Dave Feldman reported it last night, and Matt Maiocco had his own source of confirmation later in the evening.

Although the 49ers will play their final game Sunday afternoon, it is safe to say they have already started developing a list of head coaching candidates they will interview in the coming days. Jim Tomsula has been reported to be the favorite for some time now, but the 49ers will still have to go through some kind of interview process. They at least have to meet the Rooney Rule requiring one or more minority candidates get interviewed. I'll have more on that tomorrow, but there will be at least one clear interview to meet that rule, and likely several more to figure out if there are better candidates out there.

There will be plenty of names mentioned, but I wanted to get some general discussion going on who you want to see interviewed, and also who you think will be interviewed. I've culled together a bit of a list, but I'm sure I'll be missing some names. I try and pay attention to the rest of the NFL, but there are folks who do a better job at that.

The list below is not all-inclusive of people who could interview, but plenty of these guys will not interview with the 49ers. And a guy like Sean Payton may not in fact end up being available. For now, it is just a list of "potential" candidates. Feel free to suggest others in the comments.


Vic Fangio - Defensive Coordinator
Jim Tomsula - Defensive Line coach


Teryl Austin - Detroit Lions defensive coordinator
Darrell Bevell - Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator
Todd Bowles - Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator
Jack Del Rio - Denver Broncos defensive coordinator
Adam Gase - Denver Broncos offensive coordinator
Pep Hamilton - Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator
Hue Jackson - Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator
Gary Kubiak - Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator
Josh McDaniels - New England Patriots offensive coordinator
Dan Quinn - Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator
Kyle Shanahan - Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator

Head Coaches

Rex Ryan - New York Jets
Sean Payton - New Orleans Saints

College Head Coaches

Art Briles - Baylor
Gus Malzahn - Auburn
David Shaw - Stanford
Kevin Sumlin - Texas A&M
Jim Mora, Jr. - UCLA (LaCanfora speculation)

Ex-Head Coaches

Mike Holmgren
Mike Shanahan