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Mike Singletary Fired as San Francisco 49ers Head Coach

Danny Flynn@FlynnceptionSenior Analyst IDecember 27, 2010

San Francisco Fired Mike Singletary After Loss to the Rams
San Francisco Fired Mike Singletary After Loss to the RamsKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Sad news out of San Francisco tonight, Samurai Mike Singletary has been relieved of his duties leading the San Francisco 49ers after the team failed to take advantage of a weak division, posting a disappointing 5-10 record through 16 weeks of play.

Word of the firing came just hours after the 49ers were officially knocked out of the lackluster NFC West division race with a 25-17 loss to fellow division counterpart, the St. Louis Rams.

Singletary, who went 8-8 in his first full season as head coach in 2009, had many around the league believing he was ready to lead San Francisco to their first playoff appearance since 2003. But the team was never able to recover from their disastrous 1-6 start to the season.

Offensively, there just never seemed to be the type of cohesiveness needed for success. Singletary fired offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye after Week 3 and former No. 1 pick Alex Smith struggled leading the team from his quarterback post.

Singletary was known for his peculiar yet often entertaining coaching style while leading San Francisco. The former standout linebacker for the Super Bowl winning Chicago Bears was known for his low tolerance of players who didn’t exert their maximum effort and passion, and the coach ended up having more than a few run-ins with players, such as tight end Vernon Davis, who he actually sent to the locker room during a game in 2008.

It comes as no surprise then that during Singletary’s last game as San Francisco coach, Fox cameras caught him having a heated sideline confrontation with quarterback Troy Smith, who ended up being benched in favor of Alex Smith.

Interim coach Jim Tomsula will lead the team in their final game against the Arizona Cardinals next week but, after that, major changes are expected.

The team is in need of a true GM, considering all personnel decisions are now being left up to Vice President of Player Personnel Trent Baalke.

After the 49ers find a leader in the front office, the search for a leader on the field can commence.

Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh will likely be one of the hottest names linked to the job, but San Francisco definitely won’t be the only horse in the race for Harbaugh’s services this offseason.

The 49ers are also in desperate need of a quarterback. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them take a look at some of the big arms in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Maybe if all breaks right, the 49ers could end up with both Harbaugh and his pupil Andrew Luck. That would probably take some trading up in the draft, and we’re still a few months away from speculating about all that.

What’s known now is that the 49ers are a fairly talented team with a fairly glaring leadership imbalance.

First, hire the GM. Then find the coach. Then decide on a quarterback of the future.

49ers fans are waiting in agony for something good to happen to this franchise, and Jed York and ownership simply can’t fail them with unwise decision making once again.

They’ve got to get this one right.

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