If you’re a football fan, think about Urban Meyer for a second. In January of 2000, he was the WR coach at Notre Dame. 15 years later, he has three national championships as a head coach. 15 years is a lot of time in some respects, and in other respects, it’s not at all.
If you’re not a football fan, think about Google: in the mid-1990s, they were operating basically one data tower out of a cage next to eBay, and it seemed dubious at times that they’d have enough money to pay for anything more than 2 million search queries per day.
Point is: you can be at a low point, or think things are stagnant/not headed anywhere, and then, even a decade later, you can be on top of the world.
So it goes with new 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula.
Most non-diehards probably heard of this hire and were like, “What the ever-loving shit?”
You go from a guy who’s pretty famous — Jim Harbaugh — to a guy with limited name-value.
And you go against the normal streams of how teams hire coaches — namely, they chase the biggest name available until said biggest name isn’t interested. By that logic, the 49ers should have been going over Jon Gruden, then David Shaw, then Brian Kelly — splash hire guys, you know?
First off, it’s a good thing they didn’t in some respects: Tomsula appears extremely well-respected by his players. (Ignore the fact that he’s a defensive coach and the offense was the problem for SF last year.)
More importantly, though, Tomsula’s story is incredible.
Watch this video a bit and reflect on this:
- From 1992 to 1995, this guy was an assistant at Charleston Southern. That’s hardly a football powerhouse.
- He was making so little money that he needed other jobs delivering newspapers, photographing houses for insurance companies, and chopping wood.
- He was married with two younger daughters, so he quit coaching and got a job working for a food service company.
- His wife realized he wasn’t happy (good spouse, eh?) and he went back to coaching.
- He got a job at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC (his alma mater) and sent his family to Florida.
- For a while there, the current head coach of the 49ers was living in his car in North Carolina.
- At the time he was coaching and living in his car, he was also selling carpets on the side.
Look, this isn’t the big-name splash hire that an organization tied to Joe Montana and five rings probably expected, but if this guy has any ability to remain hungry based on where he’s been and where he’s arrived at, it’s an amazing hire.
And another example, just like Urban Meyer or Google, that a point of stagnation and concern can become a high point within years based on sticking to your beliefs, chasing your dreams, and a little bit of luck.