Santa Clara, Calif. Mike Singletary radiated an uncommon intensity during his Hall of Fame career with the Chicago Bears. He then spent a decade giving motivational speeches before getting into coaching in 2003 as Mike Nolan's right-hand man.
With yet another season nearly lost in San Francisco, the woebegone 49ers will need every bit of intensity and motivation they can get from the former linebacker with the famously fierce eyes.
Singletary became the 49ers' interim head coach Tuesday, replacing his coaching mentor with a vow to build on the foundation he built with Nolan - even if he only gets nine games to do it.
"Right now, the guys realize that we do have something here," Singletary said. "To what degree, I don't know, but we do have something special here. It's a matter of stepping in and being able to bring it together, and that's something I've done all my life."
After the club fired Nolan seven games into his fourth season, Singletary had mixed feelings Monday night when general manager Scot McCloughan asked him to take charge. Although Singletary has interviewed for four top jobs in the NFL and another at Baylor, his alma mater, the thought of replacing Nolan made him uneasy until he spoke to the man who had just been dismissed.
"(I) looked at (Nolan) and he looked at me, and before I said a word, he said, 'I want you to take this job,'" Singletary recalled.