Catawba Alumnus Leads San Francisco 49ers to a Win in Final Game of Season


The San Francisco 49ers had a 38 to 7 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Jan. 2, and much of the credit for that goes to the 49ers interim head coach Jim Tomsula, a 1990 Catawba College alumnus. Tomsula's appointment as interim head coach was announced during a press conference on Monday, Dec. 27, and came on the heels of the firing of the 49ers' former head coach Mike Singletary.

The 42-year-old Tomsula, a native of West Homestead, Pa., has served as defensive line coach for the 49ers since Jan. 16, 2007. He was the fourth interim head coach to be named in the NFL this season.

Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals was the last one of the season for the 49ers who missed a playoff berth again this year. In announcing Tomsula's appointment as interim head coach, San Francisco 49ers' team president and owner, Jed York, noted that Tomsula's future with the team would be in the hands of the team's new general manager who has yet to be hired. York did note, however, that Tomsula was great at what he did with the 49ers.

Football has long been in Tomsula's blood. He played defensive line at Middle Tennessee State before transferring to Catawba College where he played in that same position. After graduating, he remained several years at Catawba (1990-1991), serving as assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Catawba Indians. He served a year as a defensive line coach at Charleston Southern before returning to Catawba to serve as defensive line coach between 1992 and 1996.

In 1997, Tomsula began working in NFL Europe, serving as defensive line coach for the England Monarchs and the Scottish Claymores, and as defensive coordinator for the Berlin Thunder. His last job in NFL Europe before joining the San Francisco 49ers was as head coach of the Rhein Fire during the 2006 season.

Catawba College head football coach Chip Hester said Tomsula continued to serve as assistant defensive coach for the Catawba Indians during many of NFL Europe's off seasons. He called Tomsula "a great leader of men who has a lifetime love of the game."  Hester said Tomsula's passion for football has carried him to the position he found himself in on Jan. 2.

"He is going to be successful at anything he puts his mind to and that includes being a head football coach in the NFL. This is a big deal for him and for Catawba College," Hester concluded.

Tomsula lives in San Jose, California, with wife Julie (also a Catawba alumna), daughters Britney and Brooke, and son James Bear.


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