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Singletary turns down Baylor job

Singletary will stick around

Nolan's assistant doesn't want Baylor job

John Crumpacker, Chronicle Staff Writer

Friday, November 23, 2007

Mike Singletary is staying with the 49ers as assistant head coach for the remainder of the season, but his tenure with the team might not extend much beyond that if he is offered a head-coaching position in the NFL.

Singletary, 49, removed his name from consideration for the head-coaching job at Baylor, his alma mater, after meeting with officials from the school Monday and Tuesday. The job became available with the firing of Guy Morriss (18-40) last week.

"There were some things that came up in the meeting that were philosophically different," Singletary said after the 49ers wrapped up a Thanksgiving Day practice. "To me, we never got to the point 'This is your job.' There were some serious questions I could not compromise on. I felt rather than take this thing on, it was better to let it go."

The prospect of returning to his alma mater was tempting for Singletary, a 1981 Baylor graduate. He has two children attending the Waco, Texas, school and his son is a redshirt freshman football player there.

However, Singletary's goal is to be a head coach in the NFL. He has been in the league as an assistant coach for five years, following his Hall of Fame playing career with the Chicago Bears from 1981 through '92.

"My preference has always been to stay in the NFL," he said. "At the same time, my kids are there. I have a lot of family there. ... There were some things that came up and let me know this is not (for) me."

Singletary said he realized he could not leave the 49ers in mid-season to take the Baylor job and he could not take the job but remain in San Francisco while his prospective staff at Baylor does its work without the new head coach on site.

"I can't do that," he said. "I get to finish what I started here."

In the locker room at Santa Clara, players were glad Singletary decided to remain with the 49ers through the end of the season.

"A lot of people jump off the ship when it's sinking," defensive end Bryant Young said. "It speaks volumes about his character. I'm happy he's staying. He's been a huge asset to the organization."

Rookie linebacker Patrick Willis was so focused on preparing for Sunday's game at Arizona he hadn't even heard his position coach was up for the Baylor job.

"I don't want to be selfish, but I'm glad he's going to come back," Willis said. "I believe it's good news. We really enjoy him here. He's brought a spark to the defense. I'm better since I've been here because of him."

Singletary interviewed for head-coaching jobs in the NFL after the 2005 and '06 seasons, most recently with Atlanta and San Diego. He said he did not realize how unprepared he was to become an NFL head coach until he hired an agent, Bob LaMonte, after going through his most recent interviews following the '06 season. LaMonte also represents 49ers coach Mike Nolan, Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden, Seattle coach Mike Holmgren and other NFL head coaches.

Is Singletary ready now?

"I just know when it happens, I will be ready," he said.

Singletary has served as the head coach in Nolan's absence three times since training camp began.

"You know how close I am to Mike," Nolan said. "I'm obviously happy he's staying."

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