York steers 49ers into new era

York steers 49ers into new era
February 13, 2012, 7:13 pm
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Programming Note: Jed York will be in studio for Chronicle Live today, along with Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett, tennis legend John McEnroe and former U.S. Open champ Andy Roddick. Join us at 5 p.m.

Jed York will be on Chronicle Live today, which makes one wonder what other wonderful developments are in store for the show. Gold coins stacked on the sets coffee table? The sound of harps augmenting Kozs voice? A foot massage for producer Adam Littlefield?

Because good things seem to happen when York is around. Young Jed is on a pretty amazing 13 month run, beginning with his hire of Jim Harbaugh in January of 2011 (a generous soul could stretch out his run of good fortune to 14 months, starting with the firing of Mike Singletary but were not going to give him credit for facing the inevitable, and -- besides -- hes the one who hired Singletary in the first place).

Starting a little more than a year ago, York stuck with 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. He paid Harbaugh what it took. He concentrated on the task of getting a new stadium and let the football guys deal with the football team.

As his uncle Eddie says, Jed was smart enough to mind his own business.

He stepped back and watched the guys he entrusted to do their job actually do their job. Thats harder than it sounds for owners -- especially for young newbie owners. And York was rewarded for his lack of meddling: his team went to the NFC Championship game.

And now more good stuff is happening. Because winning creates stability. Winning creates happiness. People want to help winners.

In the past two weeks, York has shored up his success. He gave Baalke a three-year extension, a deserved contract based on this years success. That means Harbaugh and Baalke can work together through at least 2014. He named Gideon Yu a co-owner -- Yu is believed to own once percent of the team.

But most importantly, York got 200 million from the NFL, approved a few days before the Super Bowl. And with that money secured, Santa Clara officials said they plan to break ground this summer and have the stadium ready for the 2014 season.

Thats real. Thats soon. That means the stadium is past the stage of wishes and dreams and in the ordering a concrete pour stage.

There still will be glitches in the process. The stadium opponents are unhappy about what they see as altered financing from the original deal and want to take legal action. Many of the 49ers long-time fans are miserable, priced out a lousy reward for sticking with the team for the past decade. Franklin Mieulis heirs are suing the Yorks over the worth of the team.

But, right now, it looks, like York is going to get done what his father and his uncle could never achieve -- get the 49ers a brand new stadium.

Which is nothing short of stunning.

On a conference call during the playoffs, York took the right tone. For a guy who has plenty to boast about, he took a humble, thankful approach. He didnt inherit the tin ear that plagues other family members.

And hes done some other noteworthy less-flashy stuff, like righting past wrongs. Rather than running from the teams past success York has embraced it, bringing in former greats, including his uncle. Their regular contact has mended one of the uglier rifts in sports ownership.

Its been a hell of a run, and quite a transformation for an organization that was widely viewed as inept just two years to one now firmly back among the contenders.

The one thing York couldnt seem to accomplish was getting his uncle into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Give him time. The guy needs to have something left on his to-do list.

Freelance writer Ann Killion is a regular contributor to CSNBayArea.com and Chronicle Live.