Singletary: 'They've moved on and I've moved on'

Singletary: 'They've moved on and I've moved on'
January 25, 2011, 7:15 pm
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MOBILE, Ala. -- Mike Singletary sat in the top row of Ladd-Peeples Stadium on Tuesday, far above the Senior Bowl practice taking place on the synthetic playing surface.

In his new role as Minnesota Vikings special assistant to head coach/linebackers coach, Singletary has plenty to offer from his vantage point. Singletary was fired as 49ers head coach Dec. 26 with a 18-22 record in 2 1/2 seasons.

Singletary sat in the stadium with his former Chicago Bears teammate Leslie Frazier. Singletary was an interim head coach with the 49ers for the final nine games of 2008 before he was announced to take over as the head coach following the season.

Likewise, Frazier was the Vikings' interim coach, who was named to the permanent position shortly after the end of the regular season this month. Singletary actually has more experience as a head coach than his new boss.

"I think that's one of the things we sat down and talked about," Singletary told Comcast SportsNet on Tuesday. "It's very important for him, being an interim coach -- and me coming into it the same way -- there are some things that fundamentally you have to get in place early on. 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."

Singletary declined to discuss many of the specifics of his tenure with the 49ers, but he did accept responsibility for a breakdown in communication with the team's top personnel executive Trent Baalke.

Team president Jed York said Singletary and Baalke did not have "great chemistry." Baalke was promoted to general manager after the season. Singletary did not dispute York's assessment of the inner-workings of the 49ers.

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

One source told CSN Bay Area that Singletary told team officials early in the season that if the club did not show marked improvement, he would voluntarily step down. Singletary declined to say whether he was asked to resign before he was fired, just hours after the 49ers' loss to the St. Louis Rams on Dec. 26 knocked them out of playoff contention.

"I don't really want to get into . . . it's done," Singletary said. "It's behind us. It really doesn't 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 I'm certainly going to do the best I can do to continue the journey I'm on."

York's decision to fire Singletary with one game remaining in the season was not a shocking development, he said.

"Not totally," Singletary said. "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. All you know is you're not going to go to the playoffs. And you're not going to have the opportunity to do something that hopefully you could have done at the beginning of the season. Like I said, it's all behind. You move forward and we'll go from there."

When asked if he wants to be an NFL head coach again, Singletary did not hesitate. "Absolutely," he said.

Singletary, a Hall of Fame linebacker, has never served as a coordinator on any level before he became 49ers head coach, and he said he does not view that as a prerequisite to get another chance.

"I'll work very closely with the coordinator there. They already have one there (Fred Pagac)," Singletary said. "Of course, Leslie Frazier is there -- one of my old teammates. That gives me an opportunity to work very closely on both sides of the ball. But to say I need to be a coordinator in order to be a successful head coach, I don't think that's totally necessary."

Singletary said the experience with the 49ers is something that will make him a better coach in the future. He said he is thankful to the organization for giving him the opportunity.

So why wasn't he successful as 49ers coach?

"Many different reasons," Singletary said. "You may know better than me. But I think many different reasons. But that's all behind, and I think for me it's continuing to be the best coach that I can be. And my goal is still be, one of these days, one of the best coaches in the league."