SAN FRANCISCO -- Mike Singletary made a name for himself as a coach with that bold "I want winners!" declaration more than two years ago.
Sando: Seeking a Remedy
Firing Mike Singletary after one of the more chaotic seasons in 49ers history was the only possible solution, Mike Sando writes. Blog
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Ultimately, he didn't produce enough victories to save his job.
The Hall of Fame linebacker was fired by the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night after two disappointing seasons, including a 5-10 showing this year for a franchise that expected to win the NFC West.
The team made the announcement upon returning to the Bay Area late Sunday, several hours after San Francisco was eliminated from playoff contention with a 25-17 loss at St. Louis. Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula was promoted to interim coach and will run the team in the season finale at home against Arizona. He was to be formally introduced in a news conference Monday.
After team president and CEO Jed York told reporters in St. Louis after the loss he would think about whether Singletary would coach the final game, Singletary then was told of his dismissal back at the team's Santa Clara complex.
"I want to thank Mike Singletary for the passion and effort that he brought to this organization," York said in a statement. "He is a tremendous person for whom I will always have great respect."
York said money wasn't an object in this decision considering Singletary had two years remaining on his contract.
ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando talks about Mike Singletary's firing and why now was the right time for San Francisco to make a move.
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"Obviously, we didn't achieve the things we set out to achieve. We should be a playoff team," York said in the locker room. "We aren't a playoff team this year. Very disappointed about that. We need to figure out how we can get into the playoffs and how we can start competing for Super Bowls."
San Francisco began the year with high hopes of winning the West and reaching the postseason for the first time since 2002. Singletary was 18-22 in two-plus seasons.
"One of the greatest experiences of my life was having the opportunity to coach the San Francisco 49ers," Singletary said in a statement. "What made it so special were the players. They were some of the most outstanding men I have ever been around in my life. The coaches were truly professionals. I wish the 49ers nothing but the best. I am thankful to the York family for having given me the opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL. I am indebted to them for that. I am also thankful for the Faithful fans, I am just sorry I couldn't give them more."
The 49ers opened 0-5 and will finish with a losing record for the seventh time in eight years. They went 8-8 in Singletary's first full season, then produced an unbeaten preseason this year only to drop their first five games. It was the franchise's worst start since losing seven in a row to begin a 2-14 season in 1979 -- in the late Hall of Famer Bill Walsh's first year as coach.
No team has recovered from an 0-5 start to reach the playoffs, but the 49ers would have made it if they had defeated the Rams and won again next Sunday. If that had happened, San Francisco would have won the tiebreaker over Seattle and St. Louis to win the division and become the first team with a losing record in a non-strike season to make the playoffs.