49ers Blog and Q&A

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October 24, 2008
Nolan: This is how the dismissal went down

*****Update at 6:45 p.m.***** I spoke with Jed York today and I brought up how Nolan said he was one-on-one with him when the firing took place. York said that was indeed the case. He said that GM Scot McCloughan was somewhere else in the building when he and Nolan first sat down and that McCloughan joined them later. York said that the decision to fire Nolan was made Sunday night and that his mother and father each had input. When the ESPN story broke Monday, John York was in San Francisco and Denise DeBartolo-York was in Ohio. Jed said he thought the news of a potential firing would undermine the team's preparation for Seattle. So with the blessing of his mother and father, he gave Nolan the bad news.

Mike Nolan was on Sirius NFL radio today and was asked about his Monday firing. A few things stand out. First, Nolan said that Jed York fired him. He did not mention GM Scot McCloughan, who, according to McCloughan on Tuesday, also was in the room when he was fired. "Jed York was the one that told me and he told me in a one-on-one conversation in my office," Nolan said.

He also talked about the awkward and difficult situation Mike Singletary also spoke about during his Tuesday press conference. The two men were close friends, Nolan hired Singletary in 2005 and Singletary would not take the job without Nolan's blessing.

Here's what he told host John Riggins:

"He (Singletary) came down after they spoke with him and he came to me and we sat down and I said, 'Well, what's up?' And he told me what they all said, and he said, 'I can't do it.' He says, 'You're my friend and I can't do that.' And I said, 'Well Mike,' I said, by choice I chose a table other than my desk to sit down with Mike in my office, and I pointed to the desk and I said 'Mike, I just want to tell you something,' I said, 'You see that desk? There's no one sitting in it.' I said, 'I'm not the coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Right now they don't have a coach.' I said, 'So for you to say you can't do it because you're going to take my job, you're not taking my job.' I said, 'That job's already been vacated.' I said, 'Mike, you need to take that job.' I said, 'We came in here together. You know how important these players are to us and I think you'd do a hell of a job of keeping them together because right now that's the most important thing, is just keeping them together.' It's not X's and O's, it's not new ideas, everything's kind of on autopilot as far as the schedule goes. I said, 'They need somebody to lead them.' I said, 'I think you'd do the best job because of your position with this team. You are the assistant head coach.' I mean, we exchanged a couple more times where he said he didn't feel right about this and that, but I just told him, I said, 'Look Mike, they don't have a coach, alright? You're not taking Mike Nolan's job. You're taking the 49ers job and they don't have a coach.' And so one thing led to another and it was emotional and it was not easy, but that's kind of proof in the pudding, that's how it went down."

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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