SBD/January 5, 2011/Franchises

49ers Officially Name VP/Player Personnel Trent Baalke New GM

Trent Baalke has been with 49ers for six years

The 49ers last night named VP/Player Personnel Trent Baalke their new GM, according to David White of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Baalke "was considered the front-runner all along by league and team sources." 49ers sources said that President & CEO Jed York "liked how Baalke ran the draft and personnel department after" former GM Scot McCloughan left the organization in March. Baalke, who "joined the organization six years ago as a regional scout," had to "hold off a strong push from" former Raiders Senior Personnel Exec Michael Lombardi. But York "stuck with a familiar face he intends to trust with all personnel decisions." Baalke's promotion "comes 10 days after York announced he was going to fill a position left vacant since" McCloughan left. Baalke's "first assignment is to hire a head coach" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/5). CSNBAYAREA.com's Matt Maiocco noted "all signs point to" Stanford's Jim Harbaugh "being at the top of the wish list" for the 49ers in their coaching search. A league source said that the team is "willing to give Harbaugh 'significant' power over personnel decisions" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 1/4). NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reported a "lot of people in the league thought maybe Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh wouldn't work because Baalke isn't an established GM, but I'm hearing that may not ultimately matter at all and there's a good chance Harbaugh will stay in the Bay Area" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 1/4).

INSIDE THE SEARCH: ESPN.com's Mike Sando noted York said that he "wanted to consider as many candidates as possible" for the GM position, and he "wound up interviewing four guys out of the NFL -- Tony Softli, Mike Lombardi, Ted Sundquist and Rick Mueller -- and one in his own building." This "was not, by all appearances, an exhaustive search," which "reflects well on Baalke, but not on the 49ers' ability to attract hot candidates" (ESPN.com, 1/4). In Sacramento, Matt Barrows noted York "winnowed his list of candidates to two, Baalke and Lombardi, on Tuesday afternoon before finally settling on Baalke around" 6:00pm PT. It is "not known whether York offered Lombardi a position in the team's personnel department" (SACBEE.com, 1/4).

HARBAUGH OR BUST: In S.F., Scott Ostler writes for York, the "best man for the job was (and is) Trent Baalke." But there was "at least some misdirection on York's part." He "almost surely wanted Baalke all along, but knew it wouldn't go down well with the fan base if he just came out and said that." Ostler adds Harbaugh "is the only coach big enough to make the York-Baalke combo look legit" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/5). CSNBAYAREA.com's Ray Ratto wrote York was "talking completely through his hat when he said he wanted a strong general manager to hire the new coach and run the 49ers' football department." Ratto: "If they don't get Harbaugh, all Jed did was move a few chairs around, hoping that feng shui would solve what years of baffled stumbling could not" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 1/4).

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