The San Francisco 49ers start up training camp next Monday, when rookies and quarterbacks report. Veterans follow on Friday, and the first practice is set for Saturday, August 1. That makes the timing perfect for a sizable feature on head coach Jim Tomsula. Emily Kaplan put together a great read over at the MMQB that goes into even more detail than what we already knew about Tomsula.
We get a lot of the same back story that we know fairly well at this point. However, it goes into further detail, including interviews with Tomsula's parents, wife and others. One of my favorite tidbits is about how he ended up joining the 49ers in the first place.
In January 2007, Tomsula received a most unexpected call: 49ers coach Mike Nolan was looking for a defensive line coach. Though they played on the other side of the ball, offensive linemen Harvey Dahl and Tony Wragge had returned from Europe raving about Tomsula's mentorship. The 49ers flew Tomsula out for an interview; it was the first time he ever rode first class. Tomsula accepted the job, but first asked Nolan an important question: "I don't know anything about money. Can I live with my family in California and provide for them with that salary?"
Nolan told him yes, and then boosted his salary $10,000 on the spot.
The article talks about Tomsula's camp for kids with Down Syndrome, his work at Catawba College, and the coaching staff that is meant to challenge and push him. It all wraps up with the story about his football camp, and then the post-camp party at Tomsula's sister's house. The anecdote there is particularly interesting.
I would be remiss if I did not reference the Jed York portion of the article. Discussion has focused on that, with Jed York making a comparison to the Golden State Warriors. People are focusing on that, which takes away from the rest of what is a fantastic article. Nonetheless, I will give it some space here.
The article talks about his struggles in the opening press conference and his first radio interview. It then discusses how he handled himself better in assembling a staff and preparing for the coming season. It goes into a discussion about Tomsula's decision to move the head coach's office from the second floor of the facility down closer to where the players are situated. The idea being that players will always go by his office when they are making their way around the facility, as opposed to going out of their way to see him on the second floor. Kaplan then had this comment from York:
"Culture is huge. That's the difference between a championship-caliber team and a championship team," York says. "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."
I do get the general point he is making. There is a comparison to be made between Mark Jackson and Jim Harbaugh. Jackson did not get along with people, and that resulted in his departure. Harbaugh did not get along with people, and that resulted in his departure. And it is entirely possible the 49ers roll through the 2015 season and shock a lot of the national media and 49ers fans.
The talent is there to win a lot of games, but there are still questions. And to make that comparison so soon after the Warriors championship just seems like he is trying to use what he can to provide additional cover for the decision to replace Harbaugh with Tomsula. I believe the team respects Tomsula and will play hard for him. But to drop the Kerr reference so quickly does not strike me as the wisest move.
I suppose York's expectations of a Super Bowl mean the pressure was already there. So maybe it really doesn't matter. But if the 49ers struggle out of the gates, it will be interesting to see how quickly the seat gets hot and how fans handle it. Of course, if the 49ers come out of the gates strong, Jed York's Twitter account will be interesting to watch as well.