Mike Singletary tackled the head coaching job of the San Francisco 49ers the way he wrapped up opposing running backs as a Hall of Fame linebacker. That effort will be rewarded.
The team announced on Sunday that Singletary has been hired as the new coach, removing the interim tag he has had since Oct. 21. He gets a four-year deal.
"Mike Singletary's leadership ability has galvanized the players and coaching staff to deliver improved results on the field," general manager Scot McCloughan said. "By turning the second half of the season around, he has accomplished what few interim head coaches have been able to do.
"After discussions with ownership, we agree that Mike has earned the head coach position. I look forward to working with Mike to continue to build on the momentum he has created as we prepare for the 2009 season."
With Sunday's 27-24 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday, Singletary guided the 49ers to a 5-4 finish, including wins in four of their last five games. The Niners fired Mike Nolan after he went 18-37 in parts of four seasons and never made the playoffs.
"I find myself in the middle of something, feeling very fortunate to be surrounded by all of the good people around me," said Singletary, who somehow found time to change into a suit in the few minutes between Joe Nedney's game-ending field goal and president Jed York's announcement. "Now it's just a matter of continuing to hype it up, continuing to move forward and keep our eyes on the vision that we have."
Singletary played 11 years with the Chicago Bears and went to 10 Pro Bowls. He was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1998. After two years as linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens, he joined the 49ers as an assistant head coach in 2005.
When York and McCloughan announced Singletary's fate to the players, the Candlestick Park locker room erupted in cheers.
"We know the right guy got the job," said Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis, Singletary's prize pupil. "He brings the best out of us. It's just great chemistry."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.