CEO Jed York is comparing the 49ers’ controversial “mutual parting” with coach Jim Harbaugh to the formula that helped push the Golden State Warriors to the NBA championship.
The Warriors experienced back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in two decades with Mark Jackson as coach. But Warriors CEO Joe Lacob fired Jackson shortly after the 2014 playoffs ended with a loss in the first round of the playoffs.
From there, the Warriors hired Steve Kerr, a man with no coaching experience, and the organization went wire-to-wire to win the organization’s first league title in 40 years.
“Culture is huge. That’s the difference between a championship-caliber team and a championship team,” York told Emily Kaplan of the MMQB. “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.”
The 49ers severed their relationship with coach Jim Harbaugh, announcing a mutual parting just moments following the team’s final game of the season.
The 49ers had experienced eight consecutive non-winning seasons before Harbaugh’s arrival. But Harbaugh turned things around immediately. The 49ers advanced to the NFC Championship game in each of his first three seasons, including a 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.
The 49ers fell out of the playoff picture last season with an 8-8 record, and the discord within the organization was palpable. The 49ers hired Tomsula over former Denver Broncos assistant Adam Gase to change the culture -- in the locker room and inside the building.
The 49ers’ new coach, Jim Tomsula, has a greater coaching resume than Kerr when he was hired. Tomsula has served as the 49ers’ defensive line coach since his arrival in the NFL in 2007 on Mike Nolan’s staff. Tomsula was head coach of the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe in 2006, and he filled the role as the 49ers’ interim head coach for the final game of the 2010 season.
Former 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith, who announced his retirement this offseason, vouched for Tomsula’s coaching ability. But he acknowledged Tomsula will not be entirely in his comfort zone.
“As an X’s and O’s coach, there’s nobody better,” Smith said in the report. “But he’s not going to be doing as much of that anymore. As head coach, he has to do the stuff he hates: dealing with media, dealing with ownership.”