The new position comes on the heels of a successful four-year run as head coach at the university, where he led the Cardinal to a 12-1 record and an Orange Bowl win this season.
“I can feel the enthusiasm coursing through my veins right now,” Harbaugh said.
He was introduced today by 49ers president Jed York and the team’s new general manager, Ted Baalke, who referred to Harbaugh’s appointment as the “start of a new generation.”
Today’s announcement follows the recent dismissal of former head coach Mike Singletary on Dec. 26 with one game left in a disappointing season.
Harbaugh was clear about the changes he envisioned for his new team, calling his new role the “perfect competitive challenge.”
He described his deep respect for his mentor and former 49ers coach, Bill Walsh, and vowed to bring back Walsh’s famous offense.
“We will install West Coast offense in San Francisco, the birthplace of West Coast offense,” he said.
Harbaugh referred to his time at Stanford as his “signature years” and said he was leaving with humility and a heavy heart.
“I loved them and they loved me,” he said.
Harbaugh said he looked to his family, including his brother, Baltimore Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh, for advice and encouragement during the decision-making process.
Now that the decision has been made, Harbaugh said he has accepted the challenge willingly and is excited for the future.
“I’m comfortable, I’m confident,” Harbaugh said. “I go forward with unshakeable confidence.”
Harbaugh underwent lengthy and extensive meetings with York and Baalke before making his final decision to leave collegiate football for the NFL.
Ultimately, he said, “This is the level I want to be at.”
“We were talking football, talking philosophy,” Harbaugh said.
“That sealed the deal. These were two guys who are knowledgeable, confident, cool – they are cool cucumbers,” he joked.
Baalke said the 49ers were looking for someone with drive, passion, and competitiveness.
“He exudes it,” Baalke said.
When asked about the challenges he and his team are facing,
Harbaugh said, “All obstacles can and must be overcome. Losing is not an option.”
2:56 PM: Jim Harbaugh has been named the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, a team spokesman said.
Harbaugh is a 15-year NFL veteran quarterback with 17 years of coaching experience, 49ers spokesman Mike Chasanoff said.
Harbaugh spent the last seven years coaching at the collegiate level, most recently as the head coach at Stanford University, which he led to a 12-1 record and an Orange Bowl victory this season.
As Stanford’s head coach for the last four years, Harbaugh led the team to a 29-21 overall record, including a 20-6 record over the past two seasons.
Harbaugh inherited a Cardinal team with a five-year compiled record of 16-40.
Former 49ers head coach Mike Singletary was fired Dec. 26 with one game left in a disappointing season. The team was 5-10 when Singletary was fired, and won their final game of the season last Sunday.
The 49ers are scheduled to introduce Harbaugh as the new head coach at a news conference in San Francisco this afternoon.
2:22 PM: The San Francisco 49ers are expected to name a new head coach this afternoon, team officials said.
The team plans to announce the new coach at a news conference in San Francisco at 3:30 p.m.
Jim Harbaugh, currently the head coach at Stanford University, is widely reported to be the 49ers’ selection, but team officials declined to confirm any details before the news conference.
Former coach Mike Singletary was fired Dec. 26 with one game left in a disappointing season. The 49ers were 5-10 when Singletary was fired, and won their final game of the season last Sunday.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News