At this point, it’s an open secret that Jim Harbaugh won’t be back in San Francisco next year…but who steps in to replace him?
The leading candidate is Jim Tomsula, the 49ers' current defensive line coach. He has plenty of advocates within the organization, and he commands a great deal of respect from his players.
Tomsula prides himself on being a no-BS coach, but he would likely need skilled coordinators to excel. The 49ers already turned to Tomsula as their interim head coach after Mike Singletary was fired, and now they might ask him to take the reins for good.
The 46-year-old has been with San Francisco as the defensive line coach since 2007, but rose through the coaching ranks in the old NFL Europe before jumping to the 49ers.
His unusual path started as an assistant coach at Charleston Southern before making the jump across the pond. Tomsula was hired as the defensive line coach of the England Monarchs in 1998 before taking the same job with the Scottish Claymores in 1999. He stayed there until 2004, when he became the defensive coordinator of the Berlin Thunder, winning the World Bowl (NFL Europe's version of the Super Bowl) in his first year. He then was hired as the head coach of the Rhein Fire in 2006, going 6-4 in his lone season before being hired by the 49ers.
Tomsula interviewed for the head coaching job with the Minnesota Vikings last year, and is considered to be a candidate for many other jobs around the league.
He has been an integral part in transforming San Francisco's defense into one of the best in the league, and the franchise thinks he's the best coach to bring them back to the playoffs.
The 49ers are currently 7-8 this year and host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday in the last game of the regular season.
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