Since taking over as 49ers head coach in 2011, Jim Harbaugh has been lucky to have a stable staff of assistant coaches.
Despite a 13-3 first season, none of Harbaugh’s three key assistants -- offensive coordinator Greg Roman, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio or Brad Seely, the assistant head coach and special teams coordinator – was picked off by NFL teams seeking to rebuild their staffs.
The trio helped the 49ers maintain continuity in 2012, and the team posted an 11-4-1 record this season, won the NFC West a second straight year and now has a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs, with its first game scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 12.
This off season, however, might be a different story.
Openings will be plentiful in the NFL, with seven teams – the Cardinals, Bills, Bears, Browns, Chiefs, Eagles and Chargers -- firing their head coaches Monday, with a few more coaches still on the hot seat.
With Roman, Fangio and Seely all highly attractive candidates – and all interested in eventually becoming a head coach in the league -- it’s likely Harbaugh’s very successful staff will have some new faces for next season’s opener.
Both Roman and Fangio have been with Harbaugh for quite a while, coming with him from his staff at Stanford.
On Monday, Harbaugh declined to say if any other teams had contacted the 49ers about talking to the trio. The players have been given Tuesday and Wednesday off, but practice will resume Thursday and Friday, according to Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group, and Harbaugh’s assistants will need to be present.
According to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, NFL assistants with teams that have first-round byes may be interviewed for head coaching positions only through the first weekend of wild-card action. After that, interviews aren’t allowed until after the Super Bowl or after a team is eliminated.
Already Roman has been listed as a possible candidate to succeed Andy Reid as Eagles head coach. His name also has come up to succeed Pat Shurmur as Cleveland Browns head coach.
Niners GM Trent Baalke on radio Monday complimented both Roman and Fangio and says they both have qualities that could make them successful NFL head coaches.
“They’re very qualified, they’re very good at what they do, they’re very organized, they’re very diligent, they have the makeup and means to be good head coaches,” he said, according to a report by Inman.
In addition, the Niners' front office team may also lose some talent. ESPN reported Monday that both the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars have asked permission to interview Tom Gamble, the 49ers’ director of player personnel for their general manger vacancies.