Monday, December 31, 2012
Despite a season-ending victory over the Oakland Raiders, the San Diego Chargers today fired head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith, and announced the search for replacements would begin immediately.
The announcement was made by team president Dean Spanos in a statement issued on the Chargers' official website and Twitter.
"I thank A.J. and Norv for the determination and integrity they brought to the Chargers each and every day,'' Spanos said. "Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom-line is winning.''
Turner posted a 59-43 record in six seasons in San Diego, including Sunday's 24-21 victory over the Raiders. Smith joined the Chargers in 2001 and was promoted to general manager in 2003 upon the death of his predecessor, John Butler.
At the end of last season, Spanos opted to keep the men in their posts for at least one more year. The decision came amid a clamor by fans for their scalps after their team missed the playoffs for a second straight year.
The 2012 season ended up no better, with a 7-9 record upping the playoff-miss streak to three years. Attendance at Qualcomm Stadium declined, which resulted in four games being blacked out on Southern California television screens because they didn't come close to a sellout.
"My only goal is the Super Bowl, and that is why I have decided to move in a new direction with both our head coach and general manager positions,'' Spanos said. "I am committed to our great fans, and we will do whatever we possibly can to achieve that goal.''
The Chargers announced the team has retained former Green Bay Packers general manager Ron Wolf as a consultant and would begin a hunt for successors for Turner and Smith immediately. The Chargers plan to ask teams that made the playoffs for permission to speak with their employees.
The names of several NFL and college coaches have been bandied about over the past few weeks as possibly coming to San Diego. A statement by the team said no comments will be made on potential candidates.
Spanos, Wolf, longtime Chargers executive Ed McGuire and Spanos' son John Spanos will make up a search committee that will have a goal of hiring a new general manager first -- though they said they intend to remain flexible on that point, according to the team.
Turner told reporters Friday that he enjoyed the last week of practice, and since rumors about his job status started about one month ago, he and his staff have focused on preparations.
Including stints with the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins, his overall head-coaching record -- including playoff games -- is 118-126. He won two Super Bowl rings as the Dallas Cowboys' offensive coordinator in the early 1990s.
After becoming general manager, Smith built teams that won more than 10 games in a season four times. However, the Chargers have a combined record of 24-24 over the past three seasons, and detractors said he ran too many talented players out of town with his stubborn demeanor.