Jim Harbaugh is finished in San Francisco. The coach and the 49ers have mutually agreed to part ways, making the announcement Sunday (Dec. 28).
The team issued a statement shortly after the Niners’ victory over Arizona, ending the coach’s four-year stint with the team who also confirmed that they’ve already begun their search for another head coach.
“Jim and I have come to the conclusion that it is in our mutual best interest to move in different directions,” Niners CEO Jed York said in the statement. “We thank Jim for bringing a tremendous competitive nature and a great passion for the game to the 49ers. He and his staff restored a winning culture that has been the standard for our franchise throughout its history. Their commitment and hard work resulted in a period of success that should be looked back on proudly by our organization and our fans. We wish Jim and his family all the best.”
“For the last four seasons I have had the great privilege to coach one of the storied franchises in the history of football,” Harbaugh said in the statement. “We accomplished many great things together as a team during this period, which is a tribute to the incredible efforts of some of the most dedicated players and coaches in the NFL. I will miss competing alongside this group of players and coaches, I have the utmost respect and admiration for their hard work and support. It has been my honor to share the sideline with these mighty men. I will always appreciate and remember fondly, the passion and support of our Faithful fans, and want to express my particular thanks to them.”
The split follows a successful four-year tenure where the 49ers went 44-19-1 under his lead. In his first three seasons, the Niners made the NFC Championship Game three straight times and reached Super Bowl XLVII, where they were defeated by John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens. Despite the success, Harbaugh had frequent clashes with team management — specifically general manager Trent Baalke — leading to his departure.
This season, the Niners missed the playoffs for the first time under Harbaugh, going 8-8 en route to a third place finish in the NFC West.
In recent weeks, the Harbaugh’s name has come up in several coaching vacancies, most notably the job at the University of Michigan, his alma mater.