The San Francisco 49ers will name Bill Walsh of Standford as their next head coach and favor Don Klosterman of the Los Angeles Rams as their new general manager, The Washington Post learned yesterday.
Walsh will replace Fred O'Connor as 49er coach and Klosterman would replace Joe Thomas as general manager, according to reliable sources. Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., president of the 49ers, was reluctant to discuss named buy did say he was flying from Youngstown, Ohio, the San Francisco make an announcement by Tuesday.
(UPI reported last night that Walsh and DeBartolo have agreed to terms and formal announcement will be made next week. "Walsh has the job," said a source close to he situation, UPI reported.)
There had been speculation that George Allen, former Redskin and Los Angeles Ram coach, would wind up with the San Francisco position.
Walsh reportedly told this Standford staff on Thursday that he "might" take a pro job. A source said he knew Klosterman was "interested an quite anxious" to have the general manager job.
Klosterman insisted yesterday that he has not been contacted by the 49ers and that they had not asked permission from the Rams to talk to him.
Klosterman said he was at Stanford on Tuesday and Wednesday and talked with Walsh, but only because the Standford coach is an old friend.
Last weekend, DeBartolo asked permission of the Seattle Seahawks to talk to their general manager, John Thompson, about the 49ers' general manager job. Thompson, under contract at Seattle until 1980, was not interested.
DeBartolo was believed not to be ready to make an announcement before Tuesday because Thomas is in Hawaii. The club president was represented as not wanting to fly to Hawaii, or to fire Thomas by telephone.
Two other names have surfaced in connection with the 49ers' general manager job: Dick Mansperger, director of personnel for the Seahawks, described as a "very close friend" of Walsh, and Ernie Accorsi, assistant general manager of the Baltimore Colts.
Accorsi said he has had "no contact or discussions with DeBartolo or anyone else in the 49ers organization." Accorsi said the would not talk to the 49ers while Thomas was still in their employment.
Mansperger has not talked to DeBartolo, nor has permission been asked to talk to Mansperger.
There has been speculation that the 49ers might split the general manager's duties among three persons. They are said to be seeking an administrative-type general manager and Accorsi has that kind of experience.
So has Klosterman, in addition to trading, signing players, and assisting in drafting in San Diego, Houston and Baltimore before going to Los Angeles with Ram president Carroll Rosenbloom.
Mansperger was director of personnel at Dallas before joining Seattle. It is thought unlikely that he is being considered as an administrator. Therefore the Seahawks probably would not let him go if he were not being upgraded abvoe a lateral switch.
Owner Bob Irsay of the Colts made a cash settlement with Thomas when he fired him as ggneral manager at Baltimore presumably as a sort of "finder's free," for helping Irsay land the franchise in 1972.
DeBartolo is expected to make a similar arrangement as compensation for Thomas helping him obtain that franchise.
The 49ers finished in first place in the Western Division of the National Football Conference, with a 2-14 record. They finished fourth with a 5-9 record in 1977, after Thomas fired as coach Monte Clark, who had an 8-6 record in 1976, his first and only year at San Francisco.
Thomas had a good draft in May, but was second-guessed for trading off running back Delvin Williams to Miami and giving up a No. 1 draft choice to Buffals and assuming O.J. Simpson's $733,000 salary. Simpson was handicapped much of the season by injuries.