Through the Valley

Whenever I have ever heard about anyone in my life talking about getting fired from a job, my only internal response was ‘oh my gosh, I hope I NEVER get fired!’ Even though whoever is speaking about getting fired previously in their life is usually speaking from a new perch, and 99% of the time thankful for the firing, because it led them to their new and better life position, I didn’t want to ever experience getting fired. My thoughts about their new-found success were completely overshadowed by their having to experience getting fired. I thought, ‘that sounds fine and good, but I choose to learn the lessons without having to get fired, thank you very much.’ Getting fired seems synonymous with failure. And yet, on December 26, 2010, we were fired. I say ‘we’ were fired, because even though technically Mike was the only one officially employed by the San Francisco 49ers, he and I both poured our heart and soul into the organization and into every person we came in contact with. So I say without an ounce of co-dependency, WE were fired.

So what does one do when one is met with unemployment in the NFL? Random comments are thrown around, such as ‘stay in this business long enough, and you’ll get fired’; or ‘that’s just the tough side of this business’, and the like. Yet, we take no comfort in the fact that firing coaches is so commonplace that the term ‘coaching carousel’ has been coined by the media for period between the end of the college football season until the Super Bowl. My comfort comes from knowing that there’s a greater purpose for every single experience we go through here on earth. I would, however, be lying if I said it doesn’t hurt, or if I simply recited the “God works all things together for good” (which He absolutely does), or “Greater things are in store for you” (which they absolutely are), without fessing up to the real sadness and grief that accompanies the circumstances.

I allowed myself exactly one day to wallow in my thoughts and feelings. One day. And it was a pretty miserable day. If left untreated, I’d be a real mess ~ full of bitterness, anger, resentment and paranoia. My overwhelming urge to call ESPN and give insight to the REAL Mike Singletary and what REALLY went on would only make me look like a stark, raving lunatic. So I know better than to go for more than a day before I get on my knees and I thank God for the incredible opportunity He gave us, for the beautiful time in California, for the young players and their wives whose lives we were allowed to touch, for the coaches and wives that stood beside us in battle, and I remind myself that God has not left the throne. He’s still in charge. He’ll have the final say over our life and our reputation. And I’ll pick myself up and I’ll trust God. My good friend Kathy, who has been in this position before, said something I’ll respect forever. She lined her kids up and said, ‘we came into this organization with class, and that’s how we’re going to leave.’ And they did. And so will the Singletarys.



  1. Barb Snyder says:

    Dear Mike and Kim,
    I so understand the statement, “we got fired”. this happened to us too, after Chuck had served his major client for more than 20 years and served them “out of their minds”. So I understand. I also understand loss and I’ve wanted your e-mail address for so long. I asked Bobbe Evans for it just as all her addresses were lost. I’ve had your last year’s card sitting by my computer all year and now this year’s card. I was thrilled to see you had a web address as I’ve wanted to write and tell you about Chuck….and now to tell you that ever since Mike became the 49er’s coach I have not ceased praying for you. I even have rooted for the 49er’s against the Seahawks. Go figure? I was sad to hear about Mike being let go. What a man of character and it just jumped out of the television at all of us. Mike, you are greatly admired.
    Since last February 2010 my sweetheart has been in full time care. In November 2005 he had knee surgery and has not been the same since. He has had multiple strokes and has lost his memory and lives only in the moment. He does not remember anything in the past…PAO…our speaking together…teaching the team studies together…nothing. BUT, he does remember faces…he remembers me and the family and those he has loved. He is the most Godly man I’ve ever known, and continues that even in this part of his life. Kindness…teasing…laughing…social graces…His love for the Lord…all shine through. So in this new season of our lives, God has given us each a new ministry. The residents he lives with stop and touch him and say to me, “He’s a great man.” As he walks by others, he touches them and reaches down and kisses the top of their heads.. I see I’m running out of room so if you would, please e-mail me at the address above. I so look forward to hearing from you. Also, I remember when Jim Zorn was cut from the team, he was quoted in the paper as saying, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.” I know that’s how you feel too. This is a hard time, but you, as Chuck did and is now living, as you say, are doing it with class. Loving you, Barb

  2. Virginia Smolich (Mary Gibson's Mom) says:

    Mike has been always close to my heart ever since I met him at your home when you had a party that your aunt presented decorations many years ago. You and he were so gracious.
    I just feel that something really wonderful is coming his way now.
    I hope it will be something that will give all of us a chance to see him more. He truly is an inspiration to everyone.
    Life is a journey and so far yours has been one that anyone would wish for and it will continue now on a different path. I can’t wait to see where it will be going now in your next chapter.
    Every year Mary and Marshal show us your Christmas card so I can follow your life journey for that past year.
    We watched the 49’er play and for me it was mostly to see Mike on television.
    You are both good people and God already has new plans waiting for you. Just wait, you’ll see.

  3. Paul Braoudakis says:

    Kim, wow! Very well put. Your classy and respectful response is yet another reason why God will continue to bless and prosper the Singletary family. I, too, know the feeling of being “fired” even though in today’s corporate vernacular, they call it “laid off.” Having worked for one of the largest ministries in the country for a decade and a half, I never saw it coming. But God did. And that’s all that matters. My life is infinitely happier today, and in retrospect, I can honestly say that God’s plan was so much better than mine. Just remember, God’s plan is to prosper us and to give us hope and a future, not to bring us down. Mike and Kim’s best days are ahead of them, and Mike’s legacy did not end with his induction into the Hall of Fame; he will continue to add to that amazing legacy with the next adventure that God is already lining up for you guys. Take courage! If God is for us who can be against us?

  4. Burt Abernathy says:

    Here’s something I don’t understand and perhaps either you or Mike might be able to explain it and set me straight on this. Football is a violent game. How can one engage in a supremely violent sport and at the same time claim to be a Christian? It’s not as if one is a Christian soldier fighting to keep the forces of evil at bay and try to protect innocent people from harm’s way. I once asked Rosey Grier this question when he was preaching and one could see the anger rising in him and didn’t provide much of an answer. Thank you in advance for your response. I should add that I played football and boxed but I didn’t see much point in striking other people for the sake of moving a piece of leather down a field or pummeling someone in the ring.

  5. Kim says:

    Thanks for the question Burt. I believe it comes down to peace within your soul. The last sentence of your comment is quite telling; we can probably reduce everything we do on a daily basis down to a pointless endeavor. This is how Mike always chose to look at it: Football is a game; and it’s a game that involves hitting. There are certainly violent hits, there are certainly illegal hits. Mike believed he was given God-given talent and chose to play the game of football at the highest level, which always included hitting within the confines of the rules. He played with heart and passion, but never played dirty or cheated. It’s also the way he coaches. There are certainly coaches who coach with a ‘do whatever it takes’ mentality, just as there are players that play with that same mentality. His commitment was to represent Christ in everything he did, and to never let his actions on or off the field taint the name of Jesus. In every field of endeavor, we have the option to ‘play by the rules’ or ‘do whatever it takes to win.’ I’m not sure I could ever sway your opinion of football and violence, but I do hope that you don’t sacrifice your character or morals in any other field of endeavor, either. Business owners and executives have made decisions that resulted in the devastation and financial ruin of families; politicians make decisions that can alter the course of our lives…you get the picture. The bottom line for us has always been to do what we do with God’s peace in our hearts in a way that would bring honor and glory to Him.

  6. This is a great post Kim.

  7. Susan Gaddis says:

    Great post, Kim. What a difficult time you must be going through. I know that 100 years from now what will stand out in the courts of heaven is the choice you two have made to exit with class and, in so doing, to honor the Lord. I’m excited to see what God has planned for your next phase of His adventure. Grace to you.

  8. tom gaddis says:

    Thank you Kim for the window into your struggle. It refreshes me to see your honesty about the hurt, but also the hope. It encorages me to trust that some hard things I’m facing can be faced with poise and trust in God who controls all things concerning our lives. Thank you.

  9. Donald Munez says:

    Coach Singletary team is a great coach and dedicated to the game. I sure hope he finds another NFL team to coach!

    Quick questions: During Coach Singletary’s playing days, how much did he bench press as a one repetition maximum left? One rep full squat maximum lift? He still looks as if he trains even today.

    Thank you and best regards to the Singletary’s!

  10. Kim says:

    OK….I asked him and he said he stopped bench pressing his sophomore year of college. He was getting too tight and needed the flexibility. Hope this answers your question.

  11. Tom Sagehorn says:


  12. Sammie Haynes Sr says:

    Thanks Kim,

    You and Mike are true to your faith in God. I thank God for knowing you! This was well put together and to the point.


  1. […] other person who impresses me is Kim Singletary, Mike’s wife. Read Kim Singletary’s excellent blog post reflecting on their transition out of the 49ers and their great faith in our great […]

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