Vic Fangio would have remained as 49ers defensive coordinator if Adam Gase had been hired as head coach last month, a source told CSNBayArea.com on Monday.
Fangio was Gase’s first choice to remain in charge of the 49ers’ defense, according to two league sources. And Fangio, who interviewed for the head-coaching job after Jim Harbaugh’s departure, wanted to remain with the 49ers, a source close to Fangio confirmed.
Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News reported Gase was in line to be the 49ers coach but it was contingent on Jim Tomsula being promoted from defensive line coach to defensive coordinator.
A league source told CSNBayArea.com that it was never stressed to Gase during the interview process, including an 8 1/2–hour meeting with general manager Trent Baalke on Jan. 13 in Denver, that Tomsula’s status on the 49ers’ coaching staff would be a deal-breaker.
Gase, the former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator, was prepared to keep Tomsula as defensive line coach with a title promotion, a source said. Gase and Tomsula worked together with the 49ers on Mike Nolan's staff in 2008. But the day after Baalke’s second interview with Gase, the 49ers made the decision to promote Tomsula to head coach.
The 49ers continued to pursue Gase to join Tomsula's staff as offensive coordinator over the course of the next week. Tomsula eventually promoted quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst to 49ers offensive coordinator.
After the hiring of Tomsula, Baalke said the head-coaching job was never offered to Gase.
“The job was offered to one person and one person only, and that was Jim Tomsula," Baalke said.
Fangio had no desire to remain on Tomsula’s staff, according to sources, and the 49ers released Fangio from his contract. Now, Fangio and Gase are united as coordinators under John Fox with the Chicago Bears.
Fangio was 49ers defensive coordinator for four seasons under coach Jim Harbaugh. The 49ers’ defense ranked in the top five in the NFL in each of Fangio’s four seasons as coordinator.