49ers reel in Harbaugh
SAN FRANCISCO — Declaring it a "perfect competitive opportunity," Jim Harbaugh accepted the job as coach of the 49ers on Friday and said his goal is to win a Lombardi Trophy for "one of the legendary franchises in all of football."
The successful Stanford coach gets to remain in the Bay Area, moving to the NFL after four years with the Cardinal. A longtime NFL quarterback, he replaces Mike Singletary. ESPN reported Harbaugh's deal is for $25 million over five years.
Harbaugh decided to make the jump to the pros even though San Francisco has missed the playoffs eight straight seasons and quarterback Andrew Luck decided to remain at Stanford for another season.
"I can feel the enthusiasm coursing through my veins right now," Harbaugh said. "I accept this competitive challenge willingly."
The Cardinal (12-1) finished with a school-record 12 wins following a 40-12 victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Harbaugh, though, has long admired the late Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh, one of his mentors, and how Walsh made a successful leap from Stanford to the 49ers.
Now, he must turn around a once-proud franchise that is desperate to become a contender again. The 49ers were expected to win the NFC West this season, then began 0-5 for their worst start since losing seven straight to begin a 2-14 season in 1979 — Walsh's first year as coach.
The 49ers finished 6-10 this year — in the chase for a playoff berth in the NFL's worst division until the second-to-last week — and haven't had a winning season since their last trip to the playoffs in 2002.
Harbaugh, 47, went 58-27 as a college coach and 29-21 in four seasons at Stanford. He took over a 1-11 team when he was hired in December 2006 and quickly turned the program back into a winner and bowl contender. The Cardinal went 4-8 in his first season, 5-7 the next, then improved to 8-5 and earned a Sun Bowl berth in 2009 — the school's first bowl appearance since 2001.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Robinson: Rooney retains North Side roots
- Steelers notebook: Ex-Steeler Sanders living up to his word
- Play to watch: Colts, Luck like to confuse defenses
- Linebacker Harrison coming along slowly since return to Steelers
- Steelers notebook: Shazier returns just in time
- Steelers’ Adams delivers in pinch against Texans
- Steelers free safety Mitchell is still settling into role on defense
- For all but 2 minutes vs. Steelers, Texans played ‘pretty good game’
- Rossi: Middling Steelers must make a statement
- Steelers notebook: Young players provide big challenge for special teams coach
- Nearing season’s midpoint, Steelers still have issues to sort out