Niners owner needs to branch out

Instead of looking for an executive from a winning team to become the 49ers’ general manager, Jed York is apparently looking inward in his wretched organization to promote Trent Baalke.

Well, I guess we shouldn’t expect anything different. Jed, after all, is the son of John York, who told me in our first conversation that he was going to tell Steve Mariucci how to coach his assistant coaches and then proceeded to tell Bill Walsh how to run an organization.

The apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.

Jed interviewed former Rams and Panthers executive Tony Softli to satisfy the league’s requirement that a black candidate be interviewed, but apparently that interview and any others he has scheduled are a sham because he’s already decided to promote Baalke.

And so, the misery will continue. It’s now eight straight nonwinning seasons, a first in 49ers history, and there’s absolutely no reason to believe that will change in the near future.

There is a better example out there, in Kansas City.

The Chiefs had a rich history as one of the prominent teams in the old AFL, now the AFC under the NFL umbrella. They’d played in the first Super Bowl, losing to the Green Bay Packers, and had won the fourth one, beating the Minnesota Vikings.

But, they’d fallen off considerably, to the lower level of the AFC West, and needed a complete makeover. So, they hired Scott Pioli, the personnel man for the very successful New England Patriots, as their GM. They hired Todd Haley, the offensive coordinator for the Arizona

Cardinals when they won the Super Bowl, as their coach. They signed free agent quarterback Matt Cassell, another ex-Patriot. This year they picked up Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, once the coordinators for the Patriots, to oversee the offense and defense.

The 4-12 Chiefs of 2009 are now 10-5 and the AFC West champions.

That’s how Jed York should be proceeding, first talking to successful NFL people to get some ideas and then bringing in good people.

And, please, no more of these comments about how he’d talk to his uncle, Eddie DeBartolo, to get advice. Eddie never ran the 49ers. Walsh and, later, Carmen Policy did, during the Super Bowl years.

Who should Jed talk to? John Madden for openers. Madden talks to everybody in football. I’m sure he’d be willing to give Jed confidential advice on the good people around the league. On the ownership level, he (or his dad, who goes to the league meetings) could tap into the knowledge of New England owner Robert Kraft, who runs a model organization.

Much work is needed to restore this organization. The talent level was much higher than the results this year, which speaks directly to a lack of good coaching, by both head and assistant coaches.

But if Baalke is promoted, it will be the same old, same old and no proven coach — or even a promising coordinator looking for a promotion — will come here.

Jed York is on the wrong path. If he doesn’t realize that quickly, it will be many more years in the football wilderness for the 49ers.


Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on E-mail him at

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