SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The San Francisco 49ers have holes to fill on their coaching staff, and a lot of them.
With Jim Tomsula officially head coach, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is gone. Secondary coach Ed Donatell is gone. Linebackers coach Jim Leavitt is gone. They were all reportedly let out of their contracts Thursday morning, forcing the team to start from scratch, or rebuild, it's entire defensive staff.
It was apparent as soon as the team parted with Jim Harbaugh the offensive staff would be new. Coordinator Greg Roman has already assumed the same position with the Buffalo Bills. Harbaugh plucked some of his assistants and brought them to Michigan. Offensive line coach Mike Solari won't be back.
Instead, the new offensive line coach will reportedly be Chris Foerster, who is returning to the 49ers after coaching for them in 2009 when he replaced George Warhop, who was fired alongside Mike Nolan. Foerster spent the last five seasons coaching Washington's offensive line.
Following their 62-minute long press conference to introduce Tomsula, Baalke held court with reporters on his own for roughly 10 minutes. As expected, the topic of conversation was mostly about finding new coaches to fill out Tomsula's staff.
The only holdovers from last year's staff will be Tomsula and running back's coach Tom Rathman. San Francisco, the team that reached three straight conference title games, was commonly believed to have one of the NFL's best overall coaching staff. Just two key members of that staff remain.
Of course, the risk in hiring Tomsula meant displacing much of that coaching staff, including Fangio, who is believed to have wanted out after being passed over for the head coaching opportunity.
So when finding new coaches to aid the inexperienced Tomsula, the 49ers have options with head coaching experience. Tomsula became the fourth coach in the NFL to get a head job without having any coordinator experience in the league.
Tomsula said he is looking for a "streamlined" staff. Perhaps that will be in contrast to Harbaugh, who has 12 coaches on the offensive side. Fangio's defensive staff had six.
"I think, when you look at building staff, once again, it’s synergy. You get too many people with too much experience...maybe looking for the next step, that doesn’t always work either," Baalke said.
"If you look at the organizations that have had a lot of success, they’re organizations that have had a lot of stability. They’re organizations that are able to lose a competent coach, and replace from within. That’s the type of staff we’re looking to build. A very competent staff with a good mix of veteran and youth guys, that are going to be able to grow together. And when you lose one, you’re going to be able to elevate the next man and then fill from the bottom up."
Neither Baalke or Tomsula would elaborate much about the prospects of coaches they would like to bring in. But it would make sense to add head coaching experience to either coordinator position to help Tomsula. With that in mind it's easy to connect to reported candidates Rob Chudzinski and Marc Trestman, who coached the Browns and Bears, respectively, in recent seasons.
On the defensive side, former 49ers assistant and Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver will reportedly join Tomsula's staff. In what capacity remains to be seen. Former Raiders head coach and Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has also been linked so the 49ers coordinator position.