When Schottenheimer left the Chiefs in '98, everybody knew he was a damn good football coach. And everybody agreed it was time for him to move on. In the NFL, there is a shelf life on coaches and I think that shelf life is 5-8 years. Pittsburgh has done it well and the stability has meant something to the franchise. Schottenheimer went on to take a paycheck from Daniel Snyder, and then had solid success in San Diego, reaching the AFC championship game.
I think Harbaugh is an excellent coach. He is an excellent motivator. He will go on to more success in coaching...my guess is he stays in the NFL. But, it's time for him to leave SF. Both sides want a break up and SF likely will begin a slow descent from here. Losing an excellent coach is just the beginning. Gore, Smith, and others are on the downward slide and it is hard to replace those players.