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Chargers name McCoy head coach
“We set out to find the right man to lead the San Diego Chargers on the field and that man is Mike McCoy,” Spanos said. “The interview process was an excellent experience. We were very thorough during the process and made sure we did our due diligence. We interviewed five extremely-qualified, highly-sought-after coaches. It was a tough decision, but in the end, all signs pointed to Mike. After spending time with Mike, I could see why so many teams wanted to talk to him.
“Mike has all of the qualities we were looking for in a head coach and a leader. He has a very structured vision about how to build and run a football team. Mike and Tom think very much alike and share very similar beliefs. Mike has shown he has one of the most innovative minds in football. He has a track record of building offenses and maximizing the abilities of his players. He’s a devout family man and understands the value of building and maintaining a family environment here. Mike is energetic, enthusiastic, forward-thinking, and a team builder. Bottom line, he’s a leader. And he’s charismatic. I know our fans will enjoy getting to know Mike and watching what he does with the Chargers.
“Change is good. It’s no longer business as usual for the San Diego Chargers. With (new General Manager) Tom Telesco leading our player personnel department and Mike McCoy leading our team on the field, I think we have the right men in place to lead the Chargers back to where we belong … in the playoffs and to the Super Bowl.”
Telesco echoed Spanos’ sentiments.
“A week ago, I talked about what we’re looking for in a head coach,” Telesco said. “We’re looking for a leader of men, a teacher who can communicate with players from all different ages and backgrounds, and a coach who can motivate his players to play their best at the most critical times. Mike McCoy can accomplish those goals. He’s going to build a team culture and do it with passion on and off the field. It was very clear he was the one we wanted to lead the San Diego Chargers in a new era.”
McCoy, 40, comes to the Chargers from Denver, where he helped the Broncos to their second-highest win total in franchise history as they went 13-3 and entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Broncos won 11 straight games to end the regular season, the second-longest streak in team history, and became only the seventh Super Bowl-era team to win their final 11 contests.
“It’s an honor and privilege to have an opportunity to work for a great organization like the San Diego Chargers,” said McCoy. “It’s exciting for me to come to an organization like the Chargers and the beautiful city of San Diego at the start of a new era and the beginning of a new culture. Change is good in this business and, to me, this is the opportunity of a lifetime.”
With McCoy at the helm of the Broncos’ offense, quarterback Peyton Manning threw a team-record 37 touchdown passes, while posting the second-best season of his career in yards (4,659) and completion percentage (68.6%). The Broncos ranked fourth in the NFL in total offense and their passing game featured a pair of standout receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, who combined to become the youngest receiving duo in NFL history to each top 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. Thomas led the way with 1,434 yards and 10 scores on 94 catches, while Decker scored 13 times while hauling in 85 passes for 1,064 yards. Injuries hampered Denver’s running backs corps during the season but the group was resilient and combined to rush for 1,832 yards and 12 touchdowns.
McCoy coached under Head Coach John Fox in both Denver and Carolina.
“I’ve known Mike for many years and believe he is a tremendous coach,” said Fox. “We’ve spent nearly a decade coaching together, beginning in Carolina when he was an assistant working with the quarterbacks. He’s going to make an excellent head coach and is certainly qualified for the position. Mike understands offenses in this league. Beyond that, he’s got a great football mind. His preparation and detail—his level of organization—is very strong. As a play-caller, I had a lot of confidence in him and watched him have great success with that responsibility. I’m happy for Mike, his wife Kellie and their family.”
The 2011 season was a storybook one in Denver as McCoy helped the Broncos reach the AFC Divisional Playoffs after winning their first AFC West title since 2005. The Broncos upset the heavily-favored Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card Playoffs at Sports Authority Field with quarterback Tim Tebow throwing an 80-yard touchdown pass to Thomas on the first play of overtime. The success of the ’11 season was particularly satisfying for McCoy, who had completely revamped Denver’s offense into a read-option attack that meshed with Tebow’s playing style and the Broncos went on to lead the NFL with a franchise-record 2,632 yards on the ground.
A couple of other Broncos’ players who starred while playing under McCoy included wide receiver Brandon Lloyd and running back Willis McGahee. Lloyd led the NFL in receiving yards (1,448) in 2010 and earned his first Pro Bowl selection, while also becoming just the fourth wide receiver in team history to receive Associated Press All-Pro honors and McGahee rushed for 1,199 yards in 2011 to earn his second-career Pro Bowl selection.
McCoy came to Denver after the ’08 season, becoming Denver’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Jan. 20, 2009. In his first season with the Broncos, quarterback Kyle Orton set career highs in every major passing category and two Broncos offensive players, wide receiver Brandon Marshall and left tackle Ryan Clady, earned Pro Bowl honors. Marshall caught 101 passes that season, tied for third in the NFL, and set an NFL record with 21 catches in a game against Indianapolis, while Clady added first-team Associated Press All-Pro honors to his Pro Bowl selection. Running back Knowshon Moreno also shined under McCoy, earning All-Rookie honors after leading the league’s rookies in rushing yards, total yards from scrimmage and total touchdowns.
McCoy played quarterback at Long Beach State and the University of Utah before signing with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 1995. He ended up spending his rookie season on the practice squad in Green Bay and then had stops with NFL Europe’s Amsterdam Admirals, his hometown San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles before concluding his playing career with the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders in 1999.
McCoy transitioned into coaching a year later, joining the Carolina Panthers as an offensive assistant in 2000. Four weeks into his first season with the Panthers however, he was elevated to quarterbacks coach and helped Steve Beuerlein to a 3,730-yard season that ranked seventh in the NFL. McCoy would end up spending nine seasons in Carolina, serving as wide receivers coach (2001), quarterbacks coach (2002-08) and passing game coordinator (2007-08). The Panthers totaled three playoff appearances, two division titles, two NFC Championship Game appearances and a berth in Super Bowl XXXVIII (2003) during McCoy’s nine years on the staff.
McCoy’s main student in Carolina was quarterback Jake Delhomme, a Pro Bowl pick in 2005 who passed for more than 3,000 yards four times under his watch. Delhomme enjoyed his best season for the Panthers in 2004, registering personal bests in passing yards (3,886) and touchdown passes (29), totals that both ranked second in Panthers’ history. A year later, the Panthers went 11-5 and advanced to the NFC Championship Game behind Delhomme, who earned his first Pro Bowl nod after ranking fourth in the NFL with 24 touchdown passes. McCoy did some of his best coaching with the Panthers in 2007 when the team went a franchise-best 12-4 in the regular season and earned a first-round bye in the playoffs. Injuries forced the Panthers to start four different quarterbacks (none for more than three games in a row) during that ’07 season and Carolina became the first NFL team in 10 years to win at least one game with four different starters at quarterback (Delhomme, David Carr, Matt Moore and Vinny Testaverde).
McCoy is the second-youngest head coach in team history. Al Saunders was 39 years old when he became head coach in 1986.
A native of San Francisco, McCoy and his wife, Kellie, have a daughter, Olivia, and a son, Luke. Read