San Francisco 49ers: Ranking 5 worst head coaches over last 20 years

Head coach Chip Kelly of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Head coach Chip Kelly of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Dennis Erickson, 49ers
Head coach Dennis Erickson of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

No. 1: 49ers Head Coach Dennis Erickson

Years Coaching: 2003-2004

Win-Loss Record: 9-23

Jim Tomsula’s hiring as head coach didn’t create much hype, particularly after the 49ers fanbase just watched Jim Harbaugh depart.

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And the same could be said for the No. 1 former head coach on this list, Dennis Erickson, who was asked to somehow navigate the tumult following Steve Mariucci’s departure and the last great Niners era of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Erickson was the late 1990s version of former St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher: a perennial 8-8 head coach (he finished with that exact record in three of his four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks). Sure, Erickson was inheriting a mess of a situation in San Francisco. The team was in salary cap hell, had to part ways with some of its biggest stars during his tenure, including wide receiver Terrell Owens, quarterback Jeff Garcia and running back Garrison Hearst.

But none of that changed the fact Erickson was essentially a failure during his two-year term with the Niners.

Particularly in that dreadful 2004 campaign.

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A clear-cut leadership mentality from Erickson could have aided in what was clearly a rebuilding season that year. Instead, Erickson was awfully dull in a year that ended up tying a franchise for a single-season worst win-loss record.