I didn't realize that the man had been around the NFL for so long. If the team spends some money wisely, they might be able to go somewhere sometime soon. Of course the ownership leaves a lot to be desired, but the NFC West is a very weak division.
This makes the third coach who was once on the Baltimore defensive staff to become a head coach (Lewis, Del Rio, and now Nolan... I may be missing somebody). Both of those coaches have taken their teams from the gutter to respectability, so I'd expect similar results with the Niners. They have some talent, and plenty of cap room with work with, so Nolan should be able to make the team competitive in a couple of years.
At the end of the day, it all depends on what the voters decide. If the voters put them in the top 2, they would make the championship. But yeah, it seems unlikely, given that both polls have them ranked 10 right now.