Jim Harbaugh forced out by 49ers owner Jed York
You will probably never see a direct quote from Jim Harbaugh saying so, but you better believe the head coach feels that he was pushed out in San Francisco by 49ers owner Jed York.
It has been a long time since the firing of a coach has been met with such disbelief and disagreement (perhaps when Marty Schottenheimer was canned by the Chargers following a 14-2 season is close). That is because it is unanimously agreed that Harbaugh, who did tremendous work at USD and Stanford before leading the 49ers to three conference championship games in four seasons, is one of the best football coaches at any level.
So why would the 49ers part ways with him? Because York no longer wanted him around.
SI’s Michael Rosenberg seems to be pretty tight with Harbaugh and has written a few articles on the coach throughout the season. As Pro Football Talk points out, Rosenberg wrote an article blaming York for the firing and problems surrounding the team. He also had an inside look at Harbaugh’s transition to Michigan.
In that article, Rosenberg included this paragraph about the situation:
He leaves a situation in San Francisco that got needlessly ugly, with the owner, Jed York, ultimately forcing him out. There were stories about players hating him and him being impossible to work with, even though anybody who watched his San Francisco finale could see that the 49ers played as hard as any team in the league for their coach, to the very end.
Though Harbaugh is not quoted, Rosenberg presents the information as if it is fact, and we know he is telling things from Harbaugh’s side. Like we said, this is probably as close as we’ll get to Harbaugh going on the record about the matter.
In fact, Harbaugh said after he was let go that he was proud he never got into an anonymous sources battle with the team. He also asked reporters if they knew who was leaking all the negative stories about him, perhaps an indication that he hopes the public knows the 49ers front office — likely York and GM Trent Baalke — were portraying the coach negatively in the media to help justify his eventual dismissal.
For all the negative things said about Harbaugh, it is impressive that he chose not to fight back in that manner even though the front office was making him look bad.