SAN DIEGO – It has been a whirlwind of a season for the San Diego Chargers who finished 5-11 this season, following a 4-12 mark last year. Less than two hours after the team wrapped up its 2016-17 National Football League season with a 37-27 home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Chargers fired head coach Mike McCoy, who ends his stay with a 28-38 record in four seasons as San Diego’s head coach. The Bolts only playoff appearance under McCoy’s leadership came his first season, when the team went 1-1 in the postseason.
“Mike McCoy is a man of high character, and we thank him for his dedication to the Chargers,” the team’s president of football operations, John Spanos, said in a statement released at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 1. “The decision to dismiss Mike was made in the best interests of our franchise. Our team’s disappointing performance has not matched this team’s potential and has fallen short of the demanding standards that we seek to impose throughout our organization. Our comprehensive search for a new head coach begins immediately.”
A day after the announcement was made about McCoy, San Diego Chargers players were scheduled to clean out their lockers amid uncertainty about where they will play next season. The team had meetings scheduled first thing Monday morning at Chargers Park in Murphy Canyon, followed by their final open locker room player availability, according to team officials. President of Football Operations John Spanos, General Manager Tom Telesco and Chairman of the Board Dean Spanos handled the final team meeting, but little answers on the franchise’s future came, sources who were present said, aside from clarity on the team’s offseason workouts.
This is the second consecutive year in which the Chargers will enter the offseason uncertain about their future. At this point last season, team officials were considering a move to Los Angeles, where they would have built a stadium in suburban Carson in conjunction with the Oakland Raiders, but that plan was ultimately shot down by other NFL owners. So once again, like their fans, Chargers players don’t know if the franchise will be in San Diego long term, and like their fans, the limbo is tiring. When his fellow owners killed off the Carson plan, they gave Spanos a one-year option to become the second team in Los Angeles along with the Rams. That window closes Jan. 15
“I think the biggest thing that guys want is just an answer,” linebacker Joshua Perry said. “As football players, we like clarity. We like as much stability as we can have in such an unstable and unpredictable business. You don’t want to have variables. You want to shore them up.”
“I just want to know,” running back Melvin Gordon said. “I feel like it’s been going on two years now, and we’re sitting in the same spot. Guys got to pick up and move their families. There’s so much going on with the moving situation. We just want to know what’s going on.”
The Chargers plan to keep their assistant coaches on staff during the hiring process, knowing that the new head coach then will determine the staff’s makeup. The team will practice this spring at its San Diego facility, regardless of franchise location. The current lease at Murphy Canyon does not expire until this summer if the Chargers move to Los Angeles. (Headline photo – Scott Padgett)