Harbaugh says 49ers told him he was finished in Week 15
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh reacts to fans before a game against the San Diego Chargers at Levi's Stadium. (Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports)
Jim Harbaugh offered some insights into his departure from the San Francisco 49ers, saying Friday that the team wanted him out.
Harbaugh said he was informed on the Monday after a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15 that would not be retained.
"Yes, I was told I wouldn't be the coach anymore -- and you can call it mutual. I wasn't going to put the 49ers in a position to have a coach they didn't want anymore," Harbaugh said during a podcast with Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News. "That's the truth of it. I didn't leave the 49ers, I felt like the 49er hierarchy left me."
But he chose to stick around until the end of the season.
"I wanted to finish what I started -- what we started," Harbaugh said. "And I have great fond memories of it."
After leading the 49ers to three NFC championships games and one Super Bowl, Harbaugh left the day after the 2014 season ended and last month took the head coaching job at Michigan, his alma mater.
The relationship between Harbaugh and the 49ers' front office slowly disintegrated during the season and attracted media attention. Harbaugh believed some of that information came from the front office.
"I can't say that I've read everything," he said. "I have a good idea, I have a pretty good understanding of some of the things that took place and I don't think we were playing out of the same playbook.
"But at the end, maybe there will be a book someday. Maybe I'll write a manuscript. Those are good questions for (49ers CEO Jed York) and the 49er hierarchy and we'll leave it at that."
New 49ers coach Jim Tomsula was on Harbaugh's staff and as the season progressed it became an awkward situation.
"There was definitely a point where you walk down the halls and -- I wasn't reading a lot of the things, I wasn't reading anything that was on the Internet, I was really focused on doing my job," Harbaugh said. "But definitely walk down the halls and people look away or they'd look at you and you knew something's going on. That's really about the extent of the knowledge that I have on it."