SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The San Francisco 49ers have fired coach Mike Singletary, the team announced in a statement on Sunday after a 25-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams meant they missed the playoffs for an eighth consecutive year.
Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will take over the head coaching duties for San Francisco's meaningless Week 17 season finale against the Arizona Cardinals.
Singletary was brought in as the interim coach midway through the 2008 season and was offered the job on a full-time basis in December that year.
He went 8-8 in his first full season at the helm in 2009 before floundering to a 5-10 mark this season when the 49ers were expected by many to capture the NFC West Division.
Known for his straightforward and often confrontational approach with players, Singletary's emotion sometimes boiled over.
He engaged in a heated exchange on the sidelines with quarterback Troy Smith on Sunday before benching him in what would be Singletary's final game as coach.
"I don't know about coaching etiquette," Singletary told the team's website (49ers.com) following San Francisco's defeat but preceding the news he had been fired.
"I'm sure there's a right way and there's a wrong way. The bottom line is you have to do what you think is right."
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)