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Notes: 49ers, Raiders name new coaches

By Tajuddin
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Jan 15th, 2015
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Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula (left) will replace departed head coach Jim Harbaugh (center) in San Francisco

Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula (left) will replace departed head coach Jim Harbaugh (center) in San Francisco

San Francisco ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – The Bay Area’s two NFL teams both ended their head coaching searches on Wednesday.

The San Francisco 49ers promoted longtime defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to head coach. The team said Tomsula will be formally introduced Thursday in a news conference that comes after a more than two-week search that ended right in house.

The Oakland Raiders, meanwhile, announced the hiring of Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, a Bay Area native who grew up cheering for the Raiders.

Tomsula replaces Jim Harbaugh, who parted ways with the Niners on Dec. 28 in what the team called a ‘‘mutual decision.’’ Harbaugh was introduced as Michigan’s new coach two days later following a successful four-year stint during which the 49ers reached three straight NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl.

In hiring Tomsula, the Niners likely will lose defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who interviewed for the job on Dec. 30. The Niners’ defense was its strength in an up-and-down 8-8 season last year, ranking fifth in the league in total defense.

Tomsula also will have to bring in a new offensive coordinator after Greg Roman left to become the Bills’ offensive coordinator. Tomsula has been with the 49ers for eight-plus years. Tomsula’s only other head-coaching experience came with NFL Europe’s Rhein Fire in 2006.

A person with knowledge of the Raiders’ deal confirmed that Del Rio signed a four-year deal to replace interim coach Tony Sparano. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because an announcement had not been made. ESPN first reported the hiring.

Del Rio becomes Oakland’s ninth head coach since the start of the 2003 season. The Raiders have the NFL’s worst record in that span, having failed to produce a single winning season or playoff berth.

Del Rio replaces Sparano, who was elevated from offensive line coach to replace the fired Dennis Allen and had hoped to keep the job. Oakland went 3-9 under Sparano after losing the first four games under Allen.

The Raiders interviewed at least seven candidates but only Del Rio got a formal second interview.

This marks the second straight time the Raiders hired a Denver defensive coordinator as their coach. Allen spent one year running the Broncos defense before being hired by general manager Reggie McKenzie in 2012. He went 8-28 before getting fired last season.

Del Rio grew up in Hayward, just a short drive from the Coliseum. He went to Raiders games as a kid and even played a high school championship game at the Coliseum. His parents are still season-ticket holders and now will get the chance to watch their son coach their favorite team.

Del Rio has been defensive coordinator in Denver for the past three seasons, helping the Broncos win three straight AFC West titles.

Jets name Bowles; Gailey is OC

In another coaching move, the Jets made their change official, naming former Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as their head coach. It is a homecoming of sorts for Bowles, who is a native of Elizabeth, N.J. He also served as the Jets’ defensive backs coach under then-coach Al Groh during the 2000 season.

Bowles beat out five other candidates who interviewed for the job, including Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and former Buffalo coach Doug Marrone.

The Associated Press, citing a person with knowledge of the situation, said former Dallas and Buffalo head coach Chan Gailey will be the Jets’ offensive coordinator under Bowles.

Gailey was out of football the last two seasons after being fired as the Bills’ coach after the 2012 season. But Bowles is making him a part of his staff in New York. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced Gailey’s hiring.

Gailey, 63, will replace Marty Mornhinweg as the Jets’ offensive coordinator.

Quinn to become Falcons coach?

Quinn, the Seahawks defensive coordinator, is the favorite to land the Falcons’ head-coaching job, according to league sources, now that Bowles has landed in New York as the Jets’ coach. Atlanta was expected to interview Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Wednesday, so he will have his chance to impress the Falcons and potentially try to change their minds. But ESPN.com reported that sources familiar with the Falcons’ situation believe Atlanta is willing to wait for Quinn, and Quinn is willing to wait for them, making him the leading contender at this time to become the Falcons’ next coach . . . John Fox interviewed for the Bears’ coaching job, two days after parting ways with the Broncos.

He’s widely seen as a strong possibility given his record and his ties to consultant Ernie Accorsi and new general manager Ryan Pace . . . Vikings general manager Rick Spielman spoke glowingly and definitively about Adrian Peterson’s character and his ability to return from nearly a full season off to be an impact player again. The only thing Spielman declined to say with certainty was whether Peterson will be back with the Vikings next season in his first public comments about Peterson since the star running back was suspended by the NFL for striking his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch. Peterson will count more than $15 million against the Vikings’ salary cap next season . . . Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is the winner of the 2015 Bart Starr Award, given annually to a player who exemplified leadership and character on and off the field.

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