Jan. 7, 2011
STANFORD, Calif.-- Jim Harbaugh, who guided Stanford to a 12-1 record this season capped off by a win over Virginia Tech in the Discover Orange Bowl, has accepted the San Francisco 49ers head coaching position, the club announced today.
He succeeds Mike Singletary, who compiled an 18-22 record with the 49ers from 2008-10.
Harbaugh compiled a 29-21 (.580) record in four seasons as Stanford’s head coach, including a 21-15 (.583) mark against Pac-10 opponents. The Cardinal posted a 20-6 record over the last two seasons, which includes a school-record 12 victories in 2010, and made two bowl appearances (2009 Sun and 2011 Orange Bowl) under his guidance.
Harbaugh’s .580 career winning percentage ranks third on Stanford’s all-time career coaching list behind John Ralston (.601; 55-36-3; 1963-71) and Bill Walsh (.585; 34-24-1; 1977-78; 1992-94).
“Jim Harbaugh has done an outstanding job of advancing the football program at Stanford University and I am grateful for all of his tremendous work,” said Stanford’s Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics Bob Bowlsby. “Coach Harbaugh has led the program with integrity, vision, enthusiasm and energy and his teams have played with precision and exceptional passion.
“Jim has been a relentless recruiter and he has been successful in enticing some of the finest scholar-athletes in the nation to attend Stanford University. We wish Jim all the best with his new challenges and we know that he will continue to be highly successful.”
"We are grateful to Jim Harbaugh for re-energizing the Stanford football program over the past four years,” said Stanford University President John Hennessy. “He helped build momentum that we are confident will continue into the future. We made Jim the best offer we could commensurate with our role as a university. We wish him the best of luck and look forward to his continuing contributions to football in the Bay Area."
Harbaugh becomes the 20th member of Stanford’s coaching fraternity (head coaches and assistants) to land a head coaching position in the NFL and the sixth to lead the 49ers, joining Jack Christiansen (1963-67), Monte Clark (1976), Mike Nolan (2005-08), George Seifert (1989-96) and Bill Walsh (1979-88).
In addition, Frankie Albert, who quarterbacked Stanford’s “Wow Boys” to a 10-0 record in 1940, served as head coach of the 49ers from 1956-58.
Other members of Stanford’s coaching fraternity who eventually became NFL head coaches include Phil Bengston (Green Bay Packers; 1968-70), Brian Billick (Baltimore Ravens, 1999-07), Gunther Cunningham (Kansas City Chiefs, 2000-01), Rod Dowhower (Indianapolis Colts, 1985-86), Jim Fassel (New York Giants, 1997-03), Denny Green (Minnesota Vikings, 1992-01; Arizona Cardinals; 2004-06), Ray Handley (New York Giants, 1991-92), Norb Hecker (Atlanta Falcons, 1966-68), Jim Mora (New Orleans Saints, 1986-96; Indianapolis Colts, 1998-01), John Ralston (Denver Broncos, 1972-76), Rod Rust (New England Patriots, 1996), Dick Vermeil (Philadelphia Eagles, 1976-82; St. Louis Rams, 1997-99; Kansas City Chiefs, 2001-05), Mike White (Oakland Raiders, 1995-96) and Paul Wiggin (Kansas City Chiefs, 1975-77).