Chargers new head coach, GM bring message of unity
SAN DIEGO — The practice fields at Chargers Park have taken on a yellowish hue with the wintry chill. The fields, once filled with dark green blades of grass and pock-marked from players’ cleats were slowly mending following months of tryouts, workouts and practices.
In a matter of time, the fields will be green again and filled with returning players and player-hopefuls.
Near one of the fields, veteran quarterback Philip Rivers was talking to media, expressing excitement about his new head coach who was just introduced moments before.
Mike McCoy, the former offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos, was introduced as the Chargers new head coach, the 15th to take on that role in team history.
When introducing McCoy, Chargers President Dean Spanos said that he’d had all the qualities they were looking for in a head coach, including having a structured vision on how to coach and build a team.
Spanos emphasized McCoy’s energy and especially his devoutness as a family man, which has taken on more importance with the organization and with the newly hired General Manager Tom Telesco.
“Tom, myself, the rest of the organization, the personnel department, we’re all in this together,” McCoy said. “And once we make a decision in this organization it’s the organization’s decision. It’s not just my decision, or Tom’s decision or Mr. Spanos’ decision; it’s the organization’s decision. Once we call a play in the game, the team, the organization, that’s our play. Same thing with the draft,” he added.
“When we draft our player, we’re not going to worry about who we didn’t get, the guys we missed…we’re going to worry about the players we draft, the free agents, the people we sign here, you’re our football players and we’re all in this together.”
McCoy, 40, called the coaching position with the Chargers an “opportunity of a lifetime.”
He said he knew during his interview that this was the place for him, but before accepting the job, he said, he had to go back home and talk with his wife Kelly. “Without a doubt, we knew this was the place we wanted to be.”
“Some people come in to an interview prepared for an interview,” said Telesco, who was hired to the organization more than a week before. “And he was prepared for the job….
“He’s a teacher who can communicate with all different backgrounds of players, different levels of experience and we think he can motivate as a coach to get guys to play their best at critical times. Those are the kind of things we were looking for and just started to come out naturally with him.”
As for his personality, Telesco said: “We’re going to find out as we move through this whole year kind of what his personality is. But I can tell you from speaking with him, he’s very firm and he knows what he wants. There will be no grey area with him.
“Now, it’s going to be this or this and if you don’t do it his way we’ll find out a different way; and maybe that player isn’t here anymore. But he knows what he wants to do, and we’ll see what his personality is on the field.”
McCoy said he wasn’t a yeller or a screamer on the sidelines, but tempered that with the fact that “all coaches snap sooner or later.”
With the youthfulness between the new coach and general manager, McCoy said there will be some new energy.
“Anytime there’s change, there’s going to be some new energy that’s brought into the building,” he said. “It’ll be different and change happens for reasons, and we’re going to do what we think is best for this organization moving forward.”
As for any message that McCoy brings into the locker room, Rivers said it’s important, but that he expects McCoy will see a group of guys that know how to play, that have been well coached and know how to win. “Yeah, we haven’t won as much as we’d like in the past few years,” Rivers said. “Certainly we’ll be ready for his message and his style, but I do think there’s a foundation that’s been building that’s sustained regardless of what’s happened the last few years that we can build on rather quickly.”
McCoy said the organization has one goal in mind every year and that’s to win it and be the last team standing up on the podium with the trophy. “And that’s our goal. That’s what we’re going to work towards everyday from here on out.
“It’s not going to be an easy task,” he said, adding that it wasn’t going to be a quick process and that it wouldn’t happen overnight.