49ers formally announce Tomsula as head coach
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Jim Tomsula wiped down his glasses then winked at his family across the room as he waited his turn to speak on the podium, unfamiliar territory and formality for a humble defensive line coach thrust into the top job for the San Francisco 49ers.
Tomsula, a West Homestead native and Steel Valley graduate, realizes full well the successful Jim he is following to lead this proud franchise and the demands to get this team back to the Super Bowl, to win it this time.
“I’m not Jim Harbaugh. Jim Harbaugh’s not Jim Tomsula,” the 46-year-old Tomsula said Thursday, when he was formally introduced as Harbaugh’s successor. “I’m not trying to be that guy. That’s absolutely no disrespect to him. I am comfortable with who I am.”
Promoted to the head job on a four-year deal despite never being an NFL coordinator, Tomsula is ready to make the leap just as he is — colorful, enthusiastic, humble and unpolished.
The journeyman coach, with 2 1⁄2 decades of coaching experience at various levels, emerged as the surprising choice of CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke following an exhaustive search that included names such as Rex Ryan, Mike Shanahan and hot commodity Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
“I don’t believe I do anybody any good trying to justify anything,” Tomsula said. “I’m not going to do that.”
He is already working to build his coaching staff, with running backs coach Tom Rathman the only expected holdover.
When the 49ers parted ways with Harbaugh on Dec. 28, York said afterward he wanted to find a teacher to lead the team forward and someone who would return the 49ers to winning with class in the wake of a rash of off-the-field incidents and arrests in recent years.
“There’s a way you carry yourself,” Tomsula said. “The second step winning with class is how you conduct yourself.”
Tomsula, who worked under George Novak at Woodland Hills, insists it starts with doing all of the little things to take responsibility for your own actions, and he said he presented a “proactive approach” to York and Baalke during the interview process. He considers part of the solution for players “with so much so fast, being able to handle it, being able to channel it.”
“He is a tremendous coach, as well as a great guy, and I know he’s going to help us win,” quarterback Colin Kaepernick said. “I can’t wait to get the playbook in my hands.”