The San Francisco 49ers took a chance this offseason when they named Jim Tomsula the head coach, despite his glaring lack of NFL experience at the position. That chance did not pay off.
The 49ers fired Tomsula on Sunday after one season, the team announced.
San Francisco CEO Jed York also provided a statement on the change at head coach:
Jimmy has been a valuable member of the 49ers organization for the last nine years. We all know he is a man of high character, and his contributions on the field and in our community have always been greatly appreciated. This entire organization is proud and grateful to have worked so closely alongside Jimmy. We all wish him and his family great success in the future.
San Francisco promoted the former defensive line coach to the head coaching position after Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers parted ways last offseason. Harbaugh accepted the Michigan job, and Tomsula took control after eight seasons as a 49ers assistant.
Harbaugh sent a cryptic tweet that appeared to be directed towards the 49ers front office after the news came out that Tomsula got fired:
Do not be deceived. You will reap what you sow.— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) January 4, 2016
Tomsula’s only experience as a head coach at the NFL level before this year came in 2010 when he served as the interim head coach for a single game after the 49ers fired Mike Singletary. He was the head coach of the Rhein Fire in the former World League of American Football (which is no longer around) in 2006, but that hardly prepared him for the daily grind and pressure of the NFL.
While not many expected Tomsula to succeed right away, given his lack of experience as a relatively unknown candidate, 2015 proved to be a disappointing campaign for the San Francisco franchise after it reached the conference title game in three of the previous four years and the Super Bowl in the 2012 season.
San Francisco finished 5-11, well behind the 13-3 Arizona Cardinals and 10-6 Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West.
To be fair to Tomsula, he was facing an uphill climb before the campaign even started, thanks to a tumultuous offseason in the Bay Area.
Guard Mike Iupati and running back Frank Gore, among others, left in free agency, while linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland, offensive tackle Anthony Davis and defensive end Justin Smith all retired. What’s more, elite pass-rusher Aldon Smith was released following continued trouble with the law.
During the season, quarterback Colin Kaepernick underperformed and was benched in November. From there, he was placed on injured reserve, which ended his disappointing year (59 percent completion mark, six touchdown passes and five interceptions). Replacement Blaine Gabbert flashed productive moments, but he was hardly the quarterback to save the team's season.
From a personnel standpoint, it was a devastating offseason in San Francisco, and Tomsula apparently was not the man to turn things around. Now he is out of a job and the 49ers will once again begin the search process for a new head man as they attempt to replicate their success from 2011-13.
One of those possible replacements could be the recently fired Chip Kelly, per Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.
Kelly was let go by the Philadelphia Eagles with one game remaining in the season and a 6-9 record. The third-year coach was 26-21 in his first NFL gig after a successful four-year run as head coach of the Oregon Ducks.
Tomsula's chances of becoming an NFL head coach again—at least in the near future—are slim given his lack of experience and poor performance this past season, but he certainly could use his NFL connections to land an assistant job if he wants to continue coaching.