Legendary San Diego Chargers Head Coach Don Coryell, the man who revolutionized the forward passing game and later earned the nickname “Air Coryell,” passed away on Thursday afternoon at the age of 85.
Coryell had battled a lengthy illness and died at 3:15 pm surrounded by family at Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, California.
“We are terribly saddened by the passing of Coach Coryell,” said Chargers President Dean Spanos. “He revolutionized the game of football, not only in San Diego, but throughout the entire NFL. Don Coryell was a legend not only with the Chargers but in all of San Diego. Though unfortunately he did not live long enough to see it, hopefully one day his bust will find its proper place in Pro Football’s Hall of Fame. He will be missed.”
The Chargers’ head coach from 1978-86, Coryell compiled a record of 72-60. His teams won three division titles, played in four divisional playoff games and two AFC Championship Games. With the Chargers, Coryell oversaw one of one of the most exciting teams ever seen in professional football. His ground-breaking approach to the passing game completely transformed the Chargers' offensive attack and revolutionized scoring in the NFL. Coryell won AFC coach of Year honors from the Professional Football Writers of America in 1979. He was inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame in 1994 and selected as one of the 50 Greatest Chargers of All-Time in 2010.
Funeral arrangements are pending.