Jan 9, 2014, 3:31 PM PST
On this week in 2011, the 49ers altered the course of their franchise by hiring Jim Harbaugh. The move was announced on Jan. 7, 2011, in a formal press conference — complete with entrance music. The music was a bit strange, but, hey, the 49ers were excited to get their man.
Harbaugh was signed to a five-year, $25 million contract and has been worth every penny thus far. Since replacing Mike Singletary, the 49ers have won 36 games, which is the second most in the NFL during that timeframe.
In his first year with the team, Harbaugh led the 49ers to the postseason for the first time since 2002. The winning ways continued, and Harbaugh is the first coach in franchise history to reach the postseason in each of his first three years.
The turnaround was rapid, but Harbaugh was a proven commodity after turning around the Stanford Football program. Much like the late Bill Walsh, Harbaugh has successfully made the jump from coaching the Cardinal to the 49ers. Perhaps Harbaugh can continue to follow in Walsh’s footsteps and help the 49ers hoist their sixth Vince Lombardi trophy.
Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers by the numbers:
(13) Since the merger in 1970, Harbaugh is the first coach to win 13-or-more games in each of his first three seasons as a head coach.
(.708) The 49ers are 17-7 on the road and tied for the best road win percentage (.708) in the NFL since Harbaugh took over.
(36) Harbaugh has won 36 games in his first three seasons with the 49ers, trailing only George Seifert, who won 38 from 1989-1991.
(44) Since 2011, the 49ers have committed just 44 turnovers, which is fewest in the NFL.
(20) In 48 games with Harbaugh at the helm, the 49ers have played 20 without turning the ball over. That all starts with the quarterbacks. Under Harbaugh’s guidance, Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick have combined for 21 interceptions, which is the fewest in the NFL since 2011.
(18) Harbaugh is the 18th head coach in 49ers history.
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