Singletary explains halftime motivational ploy, discusses debut

Updated: November 1, 2008, 2:12 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

San Francisco coach Mike Singletary, in an interview with ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago on Friday, addressed his decision to drop his pants in the locker room at halftime of the 49ers' loss to the Seahawks on Sunday, discussing his reasons for doing so and expressing frustration that the episode was "leaked" to the media.

Singletary on ESPN Radio

On ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago, 49ers coach Mike Singletary talks about his halftime motivational tactics -- and says it's unfortunate they were leaked to the media. He also shares the conversation he and Mike Nolan had after Nolan was let go and the job was offered to him. Listen
"The only point I was tying to make is 'Guys, this is what's happening on the field,'" Singletary told the "Waddle and Silvy" show on Friday. "There are a lot of different words to express it ... there are a lot different things to try and get it across. But I've only got so much time [at halftime].

"I'm just telling you this is what I see happening out there -- we're getting our tails kicked, we need to figure out a different way, let's go out there and get it done."

Singletary, asked generally about whether he would have handled anything about his coaching debut differently, brought up his halftime tactics -- and questioned how they got into the media. The locker-room incident was first reported by Arizona radio station XTRA's Mike Jurecki and The (Santa Rosa, Calif.) Press-Democrat and later confirmed by the 49ers.

"I could go in and throw chairs and tear up the locker room but I chose to do something differently to get the point across and move on," Singletary said on ESPN Radio 1000. "It's unfortunate ... we will find out who is leaking information out of the locker room because what happens in the locker room should be sacred and stay there."

He also said he "can't think of anything I would do differently" during his debut as a head coach.

Singletary's debut was marked by his decision to bench quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan; his sideline confrontation with tight end Vernon Davis, in which he benched Davis after Davis committed a personal foul and later sent him to the showers; and a postgame rant in which he criticized Davis.

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"What ended up happening is you have kind of a change in culture of the team," he said on ESPN Radio 1000. "And I think just being myself this week in terms of some of the things that transpired during the game, I think people were kind of thrown off by my beliefs about certain things and how I would conduct business going forward."

Those beliefs were made clear in his postgame comments, in which he said, "I'd rather play with 10 people and just get penalized all the way until we have to do something else, rather than play with 11 when I know that right now that person is not sold out to be a part of this team."

But despite everything that happened Sunday, Singletary believes the team has his back.

"I think the team really supported me well," he said. "I think they knew the relationship that Mike [Nolan] and I had. And everybody wanted to make sure that I was OK. I thought the players and the coaches really did a great job of looking out for me."

"Players respond to coaches who really have their best interests at heart," he added later in the interview on "Waddle and Silvy."

"I think you can be the greatest orator of all time, the greatest motivator of all times, but if those players know that you don't care about them, and you don't try to understand them, then they're never going to hear what you have to say. On the flip side of that, if those players know you have their best interests at heart and it's not about you, it's about them, yes, they do listen."

Singletary also addressed his relationship with Davis and the rest of the team, and with Nolan, whom he replaced when Nolan was fired earlier this month.

Singletary said he sat down with Davis on Monday and had "a chance to really let him know my expectations of him are so much bigger than maybe the ones that he has. It's just a matter of going forward ... I want to see him step into those shoes, I want to see him step into that leadership role. I want him to help lead this team where it can go."

Nolan, he said, insisted that Singletary take over the 49ers.

He said on the day Nolan was fired, Nolan told him, "'I want you to take the job, and you have to take the job and if you don't take the job I'm going to be very, very disappointed.'"

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