Contra Costa Times

Garcia speaks up on firing
January 18, 2003
In a radio interview, the 49ers QB expresses disappointment over Mariucci's departure, asks for input on successor

By Cam Inman

Quarterback Jeff Garcia spoke Friday about his frustrations in regards to Steve Mariucci's firing as 49ers coach on Wednesday, and Garcia asked to be among those who pick Mariucci's successor.

In a wide-ranging, 12-minute interview with KNBR (680-AM), Garcia expressed skepticism about the possible coaching candidates he's heard of since Mariucci departure, a move Garcia clearly doesn't support. Dr. John York, the 49ers' owner representative, fired Mariucci on Wednesday and appointed general manager Terry Donahue to spearhead the search for a new coach.

The highlights of Garcia's air time:

On picking a new coach: "I just hope that in making this decision to hire a new coach that they consult some of the leaders on this team and really question them or ask them if they're comfortable playing for this type of guy. ... I'd like to have some input in who our coach is going to be, because it's important as far as what we've been able to do the last couple years, to be able to continue to grow in that way."

On Mariucci's legacy: "He helped bring this team back to some respectability around the league. ... I have a lot of respect for the guy. I love the guy as a coach and as a person. He gave me an opportunity to go out there and do what I need to do as a player. We grew in so many ways together. Seeing him not a part of this team anymore is a little bit frustrating, and it's definitely disappointing."

On Wednesday's firing: "I thought (the wild-card playoff win over the New York Giants) might ease some of the hardships that might take place, due to the fact we have taken steps in a positive direction every single year since I've been here. Why mess that up? We're heading in the right direction."

On the coaching search: "One of the major concerns for me was what sort of options are out there to replace coach Mariucci. If you don't have a better option, then why is this taking place? Because of my relationship and friendship with coach Mariucci, it makes it harder thinking about somebody else coming into that job. But really, I'm not a big fan of some of the options I've heard that are out there. ... You hear a name thrown out there and it's maybe not something you totally want to see with this organization."

On rumored conflicts between Mariucci and Donahue and team consultant Bill Walsh: "I think everybody can see that. I don't think that's any secret, obviously. In a way, it comes down to too many chiefs, not enough Indians. It's tough for a coach to be in a position he's in when you always have a dark cloud over your head, other individuals always looking over your shoulder, always trying to step in in certain ways. It makes it a very difficult situation to coach under. I don't know if he ever felt or believed he had the confidence in others that this was his team. It's kind of was one of those things where, 'Yeah, it's your team, but we're going to step in and speak and talk to the team whenever we feel necessary, and give advice whenever necessary.' Not to say advice was never warranted, but it's more than just a conflict between Dr. York and coach Mariucci. It's something that's probably been an issue the past couple seasons. It's something everybody outside the organization can see or recognize. It's not any secret."

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