Jim Harbaugh, who guided the 49ers to within one game of the Super Bowl, was announced Saturday as the Associated Press Coach of the Year.The 49ers had not made the playoffs or had a winning season since 2002 before Harbaugh took over.In the first year of a five-year, 25 million contract, Harbaugh led the 49ers to a 13-3 record and NFC West title. Harbaugh came to the 49ers after turning around the Stanford program.
Despite having no offseason program due to the NFL lockout, Harbaugh enacted a change in culture despite winning with many of the same players of the past.Most notably, quarterback Alex Smith benefitted from Harbaugh's tutelage. Smith had the best season of his career with 17 TD passes and just five interceptions.
49ers rookie linebacker Aldon Smith finished 2nd in the voting for AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, behind Broncos linebacker Von Miller. Miller finished with 39 out of 50 votes, with Smith receiving the remaining 11.