Garcia knocks coach search
February 02, 2003
Kevin Lynch, Chronicle Staff Writer
As the 49ers' coaching search stretches into a third week with no clear favorite and no clear direction, quarterback Jeff Garcia has seen enough.
"It's like we don't even have a plan now," Garcia told the Associated Press after practice Saturday at Aloha Stadium, where he's preparing for his third straight Pro Bowl appearance. "To me, it's embarrassing.
"We're almost pulling names out of a hat right now. I don't know where we're going with it."
The latest candidate to draw a yawn from Garcia is Chicago defensive coordinator Greg Blache, who has thrown his hat in the ring.
Blache will interview with 49ers general manager Terry Donahue on Monday at Donahue's home in Southern California. A team spokesman said the 49ers will go into a second phase of interviewing after Blache's visit with Donahue, which will probably include a meeting with owner John York at the 49ers' Santa Clara facility.
"I don't even know who he is," Garcia said of Blache. "I don't know much about the Chicago defense. This is just another candidate that probably doesn't do a lot for the fans."
At this point it seems the 49ers will chose their next coach from four candidates: 49ers defensive coordinator Jim Mora, Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell or Blache.
Cottrell, Crennel and Mora have already interviewed with Donahue. Of the four candidates, Blache, Crennel and Cottrell are African American.
Donahue probably won't agree with Garcia's assessment of the search process.
He has been putting in 10- to 12-hour days in the past two weeks interviewing and researching candidates. Donahue could not be reached for comment.
Garcia still doesn't understand why York fired Steve Mariucci three days after the 49ers finished their fourth winning season in the coach's six years. San Francisco went 10-6 and won the NFC West before losing to eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay in the NFC playoffs.
York's move obviously caught Donahue and others in the organization by surprise as well. In the weeks since Mariucci's abrupt departure, the 49ers have spoken to several NFL coordinators, but none with eye-popping resumes -- and none who were in high demand by other teams.
The team is restricted in its search by the timing of Mariucci's firing, and possibly by how much York wants to pay.
Other than a rumored inquiry about Seattle's Mike Holmgren, the 49ers haven't been linked to any current NFL head coaches. Last season, Tampa Bay nearly pried Mariucci away from the 49ers before taking Jon Gruden from the Raiders for $8 million and four high draft picks. This year, a new NFL rule prevents such transactions until March.
The 49ers say there is no timetable for finishing their search, which might indicate that Donahue's most desirable candidates are in the college ranks.
Donahue has said he plans to interview candidates from universities, but he might be waiting until after Wednesday -- the national letter-of-intent signing day for college recruiting. The longtime UCLA coach might be trying to avoid causing problems for coaches during their recruiting battles.
Two men who won't coach the team are Donahue and team consultant Bill Walsh, according to a source close to Donahue. The former UCLA coach will not insert himself into the process, and Walsh has said he's not up to the eight-month grind of NFL coaching.
Tell us what you think on the new 49ers Clubhouse message board.