Exclusive: 1-on-1 with Mike Singletary

Exclusive: 1-on-1 with Mike Singletary
January 26, 2011, 2:07 am
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Jan. 25, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVEMatt Maiocco

MOBILE, Ala. -- Former 49ers coach Mike Singletary, scouting players at the Senior Bowl for his new employer, the Minnesota Vikings, spent part of his afternoon reviewing his tenure with the 49ers. Here is a transcript of his interview:

Maiocco: Tell me about the new job that you have with the Minnesota Vikings

Singletary: Well, it's assistant head coachlinebackers. I'm excited about the role, excited about being in Minnesota, and I'm going from there.

Maiocco: How important was it for you to get right back in it and continue coaching?

Singletary: It was very important. I mean, everyone's got their own exit plan.But I think, for me, I love the game and it's as simple as that. But (I'm) very excited about where I am and the opportunity. I'll just continue to move forward.

Maiocco: Looking back on your time with the 49ers, how do you view that? How do you view those 2 12 seasons?

Singletary: Well, it's kind of like when I left -- the same way that I left is the same way that I feel right now. It is that I am tremendously thankful to the 49ers organization, the fans, The Faithful. They didn't have to allow me that chance to be a head coach. And having the opportunity to be the head coach for 2 12 years is something I will always be thankful for."

Maiocco: In reflecting, what do you think you learned from that experience that you can apply, looking forward into your coaching career?

Singletary: You don't have time for the things that I learned. But just know that it was a tremendous learning experience. And I'm grateful for it.

Maiocco: Why don't you think it worked out the way you envisioned it would?

Singletary: Many different reasons. You may know better than me, but I think many different reasons. That's all behind and I think for it's just continuing to be the best coach I can be. and my goal is still to be one of the greats, one of the best coaches in the league.
Maiocco: Do you think you need to be a coordinator before you become the head coach again?

Singletary: I don't think so. I think if that has to happen, if somehow that happens in the process -- but I think being in Minnesota I will work very closely with the coordinator there. They already have one there. Of course, Leslie Frazier, one of my old teammates has given me a great opportunity to work very closely on both sides of the ball. But to be a coordinator, in order to be a successful head coach, I don't think that's totally necessary.

Maiocco: It's sort of an interesting situation because you're going to a place where you have more experience as a head coach than the head coach has. How do you think you could help Leslie Frazier?

Singletary: I think that's one of the things we sat down and talked about. It's very important for him, being an interim head coach. And me coming into it the same way, there are some things that, very fundamentally, that you have to get in place early on. And sometimes as an interim coach you say, "I'll do that later." But there are some things you have to do immediately in order to execute your vision and move forward.

Maiocco: There are some things said after your departure that I'd like for you to address. One of which, Jed York said that he didn't feel you and Trent Baalke had a great chemistry. Did you feel that way? Did you and the general manager communicate maybe as well as you could or should have?

Singletary: I will take credit for all of that. That's something that's on me. He's exactly right. And that's something that Jed knew last year. But Trent did a good job and for me it's just a matter of some people you mesh with, and others you don't. I just look at it as one of those things that sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not.

Maiocco: One of the other things, I guess early in the season you had told people that if the team didn't respond the way you had hoped that you would step down voluntarily. Did the 49ers ask you to resign before, or after that Rams game?
Singletary: I don't really want to get into -- you know, it's done. It's behind us. Did they ask me? It doesn't really matter right now. I think the biggest thing is that they have moved on and I have moved on. I wish them nothing but the best, and certainly I'm going to do the best that I can to continue the journey that I'm on.

Maiocco: Were you surprised when it ended before the final game of the season?

Singletary: Not totally. You get to a point where frustration sets in on both sides -- whether it's the 49ers, whether it's me, whether it's personnel. Whoever it is. And all you know is you're not going to go to the playoffs. You're not going to have the opportunity to do something that hopefully you could have done at the beginning of the season. But like I said, it's all behind, you move forward and we'll go from there.

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