San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York and General Manager believes it's time to take his franchise in a direction different than the one it headed in the past four seasons, and the man that charted that course, Jim Harbaugh, agrees.
The announcement was not a surprise to anyone, as it has been a topic of rampant speculation all season. Even so, the move is nonetheless starling because of Harbaugh's overwhelming success. In his four seasons at the helm of the storied franchise he led it to 44 wins, three NFC title games, and a Super Bowl appearance. The 49ers won a total of 46 games in the eight years preceding his arrival. But locker room strife and apparent acrimony between Harbaugh and the front office led to an amicable parting of the ways.
“Jim and I have come to the conclusion that it is in our mutual best interest to move in different directions,” said York. “We thank Jim for bringing a tremendous competitive nature and a great passion for the game to the 49ers. He and his staff restored a winning culture that has been the standard for our franchise throughout its history. Their commitment and hard work resulted in a period of success that should be looked back on proudly by our organization and our fans. We wish Jim and his family all the best.”
“For the last four seasons I have had the great privilege to coach one of the storied franchises in the history of football,”Harbaugh added. “We accomplished many great things together as a team during this period, which is a tribute to the incredible efforts of some of the most dedicated players and coaches in the NFL. I will miss competing alongside this group of players and coaches, I have the utmost respect and admiration for their hard work and support. It has been my honor to share the sideline with these mighty men. I will always appreciate and remember fondly, the passion and support of our Faithful fans, and want to express my particular thanks to them.”
Next on the docket is announcement of what Harbaugh will do next.
A statement on that is expected to released by the University of Michigan sometime in the next 24-36 hours.