SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The San Francisco 49ers fired Coach Steve Mariucci Wednesday, claiming he wanted to expand his role in the organization and add the title of vice president of football operations.
General Manager Terry Donahue announced Mariucci had been released from the final year of his contract, citing "philosophical differences" between the coach and owner representative John York.
"Dr. York has a strong feeling on how he wants the team structured," Donahue said. "He wants a president, a general manager, a head coach. He wants people with clearly defined responsibilities. From a fundamental standpoint, there was a conflict with where the owner wanted the organization to be and where he wanted it flowing."
Mariucci and York were not present at Wednesday's news conference.
The firing came three days after the 49ers concluded their season with Sunday's 31-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFC divisional playoff game.
Mariucci came under fire Sunday for running out the clock in the final minute of the first half with the 49ers trailing, 28-6.
San Francisco won the NFC West title and finished with an 11-7 record. In an NFC wild card game, the 49ers rallied from a 24-point deficit to defeat the New York Giants.
Mariucci, who coached the team for six years, upset the front office last winter by openly campaigning through the media for a contract extension. He then talked with the Tampa Bay Buccaners about becoming their coach and general manager. But Mariucci hesitated when it came time to accept the job and Tampa bay ultimately hired Jon Gruden.
The final straw, according to Donahue, came when Mariucci asked for more power in a meeting with York earlier this week. But Donahue denied he personally clashed with Mariucci.
"I don't believe we ever had a major conflict," said Donahue, who added that Mariucci will receive a severance package."I don't think we had any minor conflicts."
The 47-year-old Mariucci posted a 58-39 regular-season record. He endured back-to-back losing seasons in 1999 and 2000, but that was due in part to salary cap considerations that forced the 49ers to make major changes to their roster.
Mariucci likely becomes a candidate for the coaching vacancy in Jacksonville. The Jaguars are the only other team left without a coach after firing Tom Coughlin.
The 49ers did not name an immediate replacement for Mariucci. Former 49ers coach Dennis Green and 49ers defensive coordinator Jim Mora Jr. are possible candidates.
"This is not something we were prepared for," Donahue said. "We do not have a list of candidates at this time."
Mariucci came to the 49ers after coaching the University of California in 1996, posting a 6-5 record. He was quarterbacks coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1992-95.