The San Francisco 49ers search for a head coach has resulted in numerous rumors. In this age of social media, any major event like a coaching search is going to draw plenty of rumors, lots of speculation, and only a small bit of real, hard news. The 49ers search could end in the coming days, or it could drag into next week. Either way, we will hear plenty of rumors in the meantime.
However, it turns out this is not just a modern day thing. San Francisco Chronicle pop culture writer came across this old newspaper article from 1978 reporting Bill Walsh told friends he was leaving Stanford for the Los Angeles Rams.
Well that was a close call. 1978 report has Bill Walsh headed to L.A. to coach Rams. pic.twitter.com/BtnQyfaphj— Peter Hartlaub (@peterhartlaub) January 6, 2015
A radio station passed along the news, and while it did not come to fruition, I'd be curious how much chatter there was about this possibility. There was no social media, or even 24 hour news, let alone 24 hour sports news. ESPN was still a year and a half away from launching. I wonder if this was even picked up anywhere else. Walsh was coming off a 9-3 season that culminated in a Stanford win at the Sun Bowl. His history prior to that consisted of ten years of work as an assistant coach in the NFL.
These days that 9-3 Stanford record would have gotten him pumped up by the media, and I bet he would be one of the "hot candidates" to potentially move to the NFL. He would do so a year later after an 8-4 season that culminated in a Bluebonnet Bowl victory. In his place, the Rams hired Ray Malavasi, who actually started out quite well. In his first three seasons in Los Angeles, Malavasi was 32-16, with three playoff wins, and a Super Bowl appearance. He would then go 6-10 in 1981, and was dismissed after a 2-7 record in the strike-shortened 1982 season. Final two years aside, that was an impressive start.
Imagine all the hypotheticals!