VIDEO: 49ers’ GM Trent Baalke’s first choice as coach was Bill Parcells not Harbaugh


With the uncertain future surrounding San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh it appears that he wasn’t the 49ers first choice.

In fact, according to multiple reports 49ers’ GM Trent Baalke’s primary target at the time was legendary coach Bill Parcells. The Hall of Fame coach even wrote about that opportunity in his new biography, “Parcells: A Football Life.”

Baalke, who has close ties to Parcells dating back to 1998, when he was a scout for the New York Jets while Parcells was the coach, continued that friendship upon getting the general manager job in San Francisco. In the book, it explains the dialogue that Baalke had with Parcells back in 2011.

“After Baalke secured the job, he quietly tried to lure his first choice for head coach: Bill Parcells. York and Baalke emphasized that although the club had missed the playoffs for eight straight seasons, it contained a talented roster. The 49ers saw Parcells, even at sixty-nine and having been away from the sideline since the 2006 season, as someone who would lead the franchise to the playoffs for at least a couple seasons while sharing Baalke’s vision. But citing his age and the team’s distance from his home base (Jupiter, Fla.), Parcells put an end to any serious discussions. The 49ers turned their attention to the Stanford head coach on so many wish lists.”

But after three consecutive NFC Championship appearances, I think it’s safe to say that Baalke made the right initial choice with Harbaugh.

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.