Before the 2012 season even started, President Dean Spanos knew that the Chargers needed to not only make the playoffs, but win in the postseason as well. If that didn’t occur, organizational changes would be imminent. .
That’s why after the Bolts were officially eliminated from the playoffs following Week 15’s loss to the Carolina Panthers, Spanos made the decision to part ways with General Manager A.J. Smith and Head Coach Norv Turner.
“Three years of not being in the playoffs, you could see that the arrow was pointed in the wrong direction,” said Spanos. “I think it was more than enough time.”
Thus, it’s only fitting that on New Year’s Eve, the Chargers are ushering in a new era that has Spanos excited about the future. The first step in that process was forming a brain trust that will be in charge of the new hires. In addition to Spanos, it includes Executive Vice President of Football Operations – Assistant General Manager Ed McGuire, Director of College Scouting John Spanos, and Ron Wolf, former Green Bay Packers General Manager who has been brought on as a consultant.
“(Ron’s) well-respected throughout the league,” Spanos said of Wolf, who assisted in previous searches for Seattle and Oakland. “Obviously he had a tremendous run in Green Bay and I’m looking for his expertise in helping me through the hiring process. He’s been around a long time. He knows a lot of individuals out there.”
On Monday, the Chargers reached out to numerous teams in the playoffs with consent forms asking to interview candidates on their staff. Once they hear back, then the team will get a better sense of how the process will unfold.
“I’m hoping we hear something in the next few days,” said Spanos. “But until that happens, I’m not sure exactly how this is all going to play out in terms of the logistics of the interviews.”
Spanos said that there are seven or eight candidates for each position, but he will not be disclosing who is on their lists.
“I’m not going to give out any names,” he said. “You can clearly see why. There are so many teams out there looking for coaches and general managers, it could be a disadvantage to give out all our names.”
While the new GM and head coach were at the forefront on Monday, Spanos also spoke about his personal future with the team and how he plans for his son, John, to one day take over his role.
“There’s been a lot of speculation about John,” said Spanos. “Let me just say upfront, at some point in time, and not this year or next year, but some ways down the line, it could be three, four, five years from now, my intentions now is for him to take over my position. I’m not putting a timeframe on it. I’m not ready to retire yet.”
While that change won’t occur for a number of years, Spanos made a drastic, but necessary decision on Monday to alter the course of the franchise by relieving A.J Smith and Norv Turner of their duties. Now the hard work begins as the team undertakes an extensive search to find the best men for the job.