Vic Fangio was the first of nine known candidates to interview for the 49ers’ head-coaching vacancy in January after the “mutual parting” with coach Jim Harbaugh.
But Fangio quickly faded from candidacy despite his run of four consecutive seasons as defensive coordinator, during which the 49ers’ defense never ranked outside the top five in the NFL.
Fangio was not even considered the 49ers’ top in-house candidate, as Jim Tomsula was promoted to head coach after spending the previous eight seasons coaching the team's defensive line.
Adam Gase, Mike Shanahan, Rex Ryan, Dan Quinn, Todd Bowles, Josh McDaniels, Teryl Austin and Doug Marrone also reportedly interviewed for the job.
“That’s their decision and their choice,” Fangio, the Chicago Bears’ defensive coordinator, said Wednesday when asked about it during his weekly press conference with the Chicago media. “I have nothing to do with that.”
When asked if it was hard to accept, Fangio answered, “No, I’ve just always accepted it’s their decision, their team. They do what they want with it.”
Fangio and the 49ers agreed he would not fit on the 49ers’ staff with Tomsula as the head coach, so he was let out of his contract. New Chicago coach John Fox hired Fangio to run his defense. The 49ers (3-8) face the Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field, and Fangio said he does not feel extra motivation against his former team.
“No,” he said, “we’re 5-6. All I’m thinking about is trying to get to 6-6.”
Fangio’s defenses were the driving force behind the 49ers’ three consecutive trips to the NFC Championship game and one Super Bowl appearance in the first three seasons of Harbaugh’s run as head coach.
“I just look back on the four years with the 49ers with really good memories,” he said. “We had a nice run there. Got to a Super Bowl. Got to three championship games. Won a lot of football games over a four-year period. I just look back there with a lot of fond memories.”
Fangio briefly spoke about the differences he sees in the 49ers’ offense with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback and not Colin Kaepernick.
“Well, they’re still running a lot of the same stuff they were running with Kap prior,” Fangio said. “Some of the stuff they’ve backed off of. It’s still the same offense, so you need to look at all their games and see what they’ve done for the entire season.”