San Francisco lost 20-7 at Cleveland last Sunday to complete an embarrassing run of losing for a franchise with five Super Bowl trophies. The 49ers haven't finished better than 7-9 in three seasons under Nolan and McCloughan.
Their third season in San Francisco easily was the most disappointing, with 10 losses in 11 games erasing Nolan's bold hopes for a playoff run. The season also was personally taxing on Nolan, whose father, former 49ers coach Dick Nolan, died one day before a game at Seattle.
Nolan, who didn't get a contract extension, has two years left on a five-year, $8 million deal. The sharpest-dressed coach in franchise history also is the first to return after three straight losing seasons.
Nolan made one inevitable move by firing rookie offensive coordinator Jim Hostler, whose unit finished last in the NFL with 219 points. Nolan is on the lookout for a veteran NFL man to become San Francisco's sixth offensive coordinator in six seasons.