The San Francisco 49ers went through quite the process in their search for an NFL head coach. We heard a variety of names, and one notable name to pop up was former 49ers assistant coach Mike Holmgren. The former Packers and Seahawks head coach said back in January that he had interest in the 49ers job, but the team was not interested. That was all there was to that.
Last week, Holmgren made an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, and discussed it in a little bit more detail.
RICH: Do you still have the coaching bug? What about you wanting to come back and maybe put on the headset in the National Football League, not for the Southern Bowl?
MIKE: Yeah, you know Rich, I did. It was hard, and I think it's hard for anybody when you're doing something for so long as intensely as we do it. And then, this last December, after the season, I had a couple of chances, and almost took one of them, and then realized that, 'What am I doing?' You know, I'd be traveling across the country and my grandkids are all in Seattle, and my life is really good but I had the bug still, and then I told my agent, 'You know, the one I'd really kind of like to do is San Francisco,' and so they reached out to the 49ers and essentially, I got a call back saying, 'Nah, we're going with a younger guy.' And you know what? I probably needed to hear that because you get your ego stroked and you're flattered when people call you and you kind of get into a place where I'm not sure you're making great decisions, but when I heard that I said, 'Okay, I needed to hear that and now I'm going onto other things.'
Holmgren has been out of the game for some time now, so it is not surprising the team would be looking in another direction. He was the Cleveland Browns team president from 2010 to 2012, but his last experience as a head coach was in Seattle from 1999 to 2008. The 49ers interviewed a variety of candidates, but it seemed like Jim Tomsula was the front-runner from day one.
The most notable comment in there is the idea that the 49ers indicated they were going with a younger guy for the job. The way Holmgren referenced it does not indicate that is exactly what they said, but it seemed to at least be implied in some way. Again, Tomsula seemed like the choice from day one, but the timing of this is kind of amusing.
Jim Tomsula is 20 years younger than Holmgren, so they certainly did go younger. But what I find most amusing about Holmgren's comments is they come as the team and Jed York face an age discrimination lawsuit. Back in January, two former employees filed suit claiming they were fired due to their age. The lawsuit is slowly making its way through the civil process. On July 22, the two sides stipulated to be referred to a magistrate "for the purpose of participating in an Early Settlement Conference."
The order further consolidates several motions for a hearing on October 5. York and the 49ers both moved to dismiss the case from one of the two plaintiffs, and they also moved to compel arbitration or otherwise dismiss the case of the second plaintiff. I suspect a settlement is eventually reached, but we'll keep an eye on the process.