Dickey: Niners in need of football experience in front office

As Jed York’s inane comment about winning the division shows, the 49ers are a mess from the top down.

Jed has apparently inherited his dad’s arrogance gene. The first time I talked to John York, he told me he was going to advise Steve Mariucci how to work with his assistant coaches. Oh, my. Later, he tried to tell Bill Walsh how to run an organization.

Double oh, my. Walsh eventually quit the 49ers in disgust.

Jed has acted the same way. When he took over, he fired Andy Dolich, who had years of working as an executive for Bay Area teams. If Dolich were still there, he would certainly have advised Jed against making any comments about the season or the coach.

When Scot McCloughan left earlier this year, Jed decided the 49ers didn’t need a general manager. So, with no football experience himself, Jed is making decisions with almost no experienced football people around him.

He should look at his own family history with the 49ers.

His uncle, Eddie DeBartolo, got off to a horrific start, hiring Joe Thomas, who was an absolute disaster. But Eddie learned from that mistake, hiring Walsh next and letting him run the team.

Walsh didn’t try to do it alone. He always had good people around him. Tony Razzano was his scouting director, George Seifert his defensive coordinator for most of the time, and his eventual successor.

But most of all, he had John McVay. Walsh’s first hires were McVay and John Ralston, who had both been NFL coaches. Ralston didn’t stay long but McVay stayed with Walsh until both left the organization together. He was exactly the kind of old NFL hand that Walsh needed — and that Jed needs now.

When Walsh eyed Fred Dean as the pass rusher the team needed in 1981, it was McVay who made the deal. When Walsh wanted to move up to draft Jerry Rice in 1985, it was McVay who made the calls. When Walsh decided to move down in he ’86 draft to get more picks, it was McVay who made the calls.

Who do the Niners have like McVay now? Nobody.

That showed with the panicky way they handled the Mike Nolan firing. Their hand was forced because a report came out on TV, so they hurriedly promoted Singletary.

At the end of the season, they should have taken their time to look at the available choices for head coach. They didn’t, because they didn’t have the people in the front office to make that kind of decision. Singletary got the job by default.
Singletary’s first move was to fire Mike Martz as offensive coordinator. That should have set off an immediate red flag. Strong coaches hire strong assistants — Bill Belichick worked for Bill Parcells and then hired two coordinators who eventually became head coaches. Weak coaches don’t want strong people around them, and that’s disastrous.

So, now the 49ers will face another coaching decision. They can’t let Singletary continue beyond this season, but they don’t have the people in place in the front office to make the right decision.

With the Yorks in charge, there is no hope for the franchise.

Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. E-mail him at glenndickey@hotmail.com.</em>

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