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One-on-One with Dean Spanos

Posted Oct 3, 2013

Chargers President Dean Spanos sat down for an exclusive interview with Jordan Beane.

Earlier this week, Jordan Beane sat down with Chargers President Dean Spanos for a wide ranging interview about Philip Rivers, a new stadium and reflecting on the influence his father, Alex, had on him.

Here is what he had to say:

How nice was it to get a win in front of the home fans?

Spanos: It’s great.  There’s nothing like it.  Obviously you like to win away and home, but winning at home, and the way we did the last Sunday, was very exciting.

You’ve long been one of Philip River strongest supporters. How impressed are you by his season so far and his ability to shake off the naysayers?

Spanos: There’s still 12 games to go and we’re 2-2, but I think Philip has done an outstanding job.  But I think he would be the first to say that his success this year so far has primarily been because of the system (Head Coach) Mike (McCoy) has put in, (Offensive Coordinator) Ken Whisenhunt obviously and the players he’s been surrounded with that (General Manager) Tom Telesco has put out there.  It’s given him the ability to play at the level he is right now.   

Question: The Chargers recently issued a counter-proposal to the Coastal Commission’s plan for a joint downtown stadium-convention center plan.  What are the advantages of the combined plan?

Spanos: There are quite a few, but I think most obvious is it’s so cost effective to build one facility that has the ability to have convention space and a stadium rather than two separate facilities.  I don’t know the exact numbers, but it would be significantly less to build a multipurpose building. Secondly, the type of events you can bring in to San Diego, starting with the Super Bowl to a BCS Championship to a Final Four to all sorts of major convention type of events, the opportunities are just unbelievable.  

If the original downtown convention center plan goes down in defeat, what do you think some of the causes of that are going to be?

Spanos: Obviously there are two hurdles they have to overcome right now.  One is the Coastal Commission, and I think the Coast Commission is going to rule here shortly. And secondly, obviously there’s been a challenge on the taxing mechanism to fund this project.  And that’s in the Supreme Court right now in the state of California.  So there are two obstacles that they have to overcome before that happens, everything else not even being applicable.

So many people would have thought the team would have fled to Los Angeles by now.  What is your motivation to stay here in San Diego and keep the Chargers here?

Spanos: This is our home.  I’ve said that before.  This is where we want to be, this is where we should be. For over a decade now we’ve been committed to try to find a location and figure out a way to fund it and get this thing built.  We haven’t given up.  We’re still trying. Obviously there are a lot of political issues here locally that need to be straightened out.  We need a good strong mayor and a good council to support something like that.  So that’s going to be another few months that we’re going to have to wait to see who it is and how that’s all going to shake out. But we’re still doing as much work as we can right now.  As I’ve said before, we are closer to the end of the process than the beginning.

Finally Dean, the win was special on Sunday but I think Saturday was probably a little bit more special.  You celebrated your father Alex’s 90th birthday.  Is there anything that you can really point to as an important lesson that he passed along to you in how to run an NFL franchise? And maybe one anecdote that spoke to the kind of owner and person that he is?

Spanos: Well, he was obviously the most positive person that I’ve ever met.  As difficult as this business is, because there are 31 other teams trying to do the same thing you are, his attitude that he left me was never give up.  You’re going to have failures, but never give up.  Learn from those failures and you will eventually get there.  It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself when things aren’t going right in this business, but that’s the last thing you need to do.




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