SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / AP) — Mike Singletary has been fired by the San Francisco 49ers after two disappointing seasons.
The team made the announcement late Sunday, several hours after San Francisco was eliminated from playoff contention with a 25-17 loss at St. Louis.
(CBS 5 Exclusive: Mike Singletary reacts to his firing)
Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula has been elevated to interim coach and will run the team in next Sunday’s season finale at home against Arizona.
San Francisco (5-10) was eliminated in a season that began with high hopes of winning the NFC West and reaching the postseason for the first time since 2002.
(Singletary’s post-game remarks in his final news conference as 49ers coach)
The 49ers began 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 had that chance if they’d beaten 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.
The 52-year-old Singletary, who first took over as head coach on an interim basis when Mike Nolan was fired in October 2008 and soon declared “I want winners!” had two years remaining on his contract.
Three players left the team this year, Singletary fired offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye after Week 3 and then lost secondary coach and special assistant, Johnnie Lynn, when he resigned for personal reasons earlier this month.
Singletary switched quarterbacks three different times, starting with Alex Smith, going to Troy Smith for five games even after Alex Smith’s hurt non-throwing shoulder had healed, then back to Alex Smith for two games before Troy Smith started Sunday — only to give way to Alex Smith in the fourth quarter after Troy Smith had a heated exchange with Singletary.
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