Jim Harbaugh: San Francisco 49ers Hire Harbaugh As New Head Coach

Mihir Bhagat@mihirbhagatSenior Analyst IIIJanuary 7, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 07:  Jim Harbaugh speaks at a press conference where he was introduced as the new San Francisco 49ers head coach at the Palace Hotel on January 7, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Jim Harbaugh has officially become the San Francisco 49ers new head coach after signing a five-year deal worth $25 million today.

So, the former Stanford coach will leave college to test his skills in the pro game  while still remaining in the Bay area. According to him, it was a "perfect competitive opportunity," and his goal is to now win a Lombardi Trophy for "one of the legendary franchises in all of football."

This is a huge risk since Stanford is coming off a 12-1 season capped by a commanding 40-12 victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Not to mention, quarterback Andrew Luck just stated that he would be staying in college to work on his degree.

Meanwhile, the 49ers haven't qualified for the playoffs in eight seasons and are at complete disarray at the quarterback position. However, that didn't stop Harbaugh.

"I can feel the enthusiasm coursing through my veins right now," said Harbaugh. "I accept this competitive challenge willingly."

Also realize that the last coach who made the jump from Stanford to the 49ers was Hall of Famer Bill Wash. Interestingly enough, Harbaugh said that he greatly admired Walsh during his tenure. 

"Everything that came out of his mind, his heart, his mouth, I hung on every single word," he explained.

He went on to say how he had mulled this choice since their six hour meeting on Wednesday. 

"I knew in my heart and my gut the right decision was with the San Francisco 49ers," he said.

Now, he'll have to bolster a team that failed to meet their high expectations of winning the NFC West and instead finished with a 6-10 record.

Of course, new general manager Trent Baalke is confident that Harbaugh can change things here in San Francisco, much unlike Mike Singletary who's the coach he'll now be replacing.

"This is the start of a new generation," he started. "What we have to do is bring back the culture of winning. He's a guy who can lead the 49ers franchise back to where it rightfully belongs."

As I'm sure we all know, that'll take a lot of work which starts by preparing for the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft in which they hold the No. 7 overall pick.

"It's the process of building a team, being part of a team and leading a team, and working at it," Harbaugh said. "It's committing a lot of energy to it."

"This is a very happy day but our work didn't end today," owner Jed York added. "It just begins today."

And to top it off, Harbaugh finished it with a typical cliche which I'm sure the 49er faithful will be excited about. "Losing is not an option," he said.

Information from an ESPN news report was used in this article