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Dean Spanos: He knows how to build a winning football team

Posted Jan 9, 2013

President Dean Spanos addresses the media to announce the hiring of new General Manager Tom Telesco.

President Dean Spanos

Opening statement:

“Good afternoon and thank you for coming today. Over the last week, all the candidates that we’ve interviewed have been extremely qualified to be general managers in the National Football League and I believe that they will someday. We set out to find the right person to bring about change to the San Diego Chargers. It was a tough decision, but in the end, all signs pointed to Tom Telesco. He is highly respected among his NFL peers, his work ethic is extraordinary, and he is honest, humble, engaging and an excellent communicator. But most importantly, he knows how to build a winning football team. Now that we have this critical piece in place, our goal is to go out and find the best coach that we possibly can in order to get us back to the playoffs and to the Super Bowl. That effort has begun, and our new general manager will be heading that whole interview process. It is with a great deal of pleasure that I introduce the new general manager of the San Diego Chargers, Tom Telesco.”

On what impressed him about Tom Telesco:

“I was mostly impressed with Tom’s vision, his sense of how to build this team going forward and what elements he can add to that in order to bring the whole organization together. That’s what was impressive to me.”

On what put Tom Telesco over the top as the right candidate:

“As I said, it was his vision in terms of what we need to do to move forward. Everyone knows that you need to pick the right players in the draft and the right players in free agency, but it’s more than that. You have to coach and you have to bring it all together to where it’s one organization. It’s the cohesiveness that makes that happen.”

On the reaction of Jimmy Raye after the news that he would not become the general manager:

“Obviously he was extremely disappointed. I told him straight-out that he’s going to be a GM in the National Football League, there’s no doubt about it. All the candidates we talked to were extremely well-qualified. I think that they all will be GM’s, I believe that in the next few years. I told him (Raye) that I wanted him to stay here and that I had a lot of respect for him. I’ve worked with him for a very long time, so I hope that he stays.”

On the number of coaching candidates that he has already spoken with:

“The original list was probably 15 or 20, but we pared that down. One person we talked to was (Doug) Marrone.”

On the influence that Tom Telesco will have in finding the new head coach:

“He is leading the process. We’ll all be there, but ultimately it will be his decision at the end of the day.”

On when he interviewed Tom Telesco:

“We flew back to Indianapolis last week. I can’t remember the exact date, but it was probably Tuesday or Wednesday last week. Then we brought him out here.”

On how he would define Tom Telesco’s vision:

“I think that it’s his personality, his leadership qualities to be able to work with the coach, to be able to work with the front office, the player personnel side of it and make it all mesh.”

On how he feels about his decision to hire Tom Telesco:

“I feel very secure. I feel very optimistic and positive about things going forward. We still have a lot of work to do. We still don’t have our coach yet. It was long week and it was a hard week.”

On the change in culture with the Chargers:

“I think that there’s going to be a change in culture, there’s going to be a change in the process. It was needed at this time. That’s the most important thing. (The change will be) how we build on the franchise. We’ve done it a certain way for the last 10 years, but I think that he’s going to have a different approach. We talked about structure a lot, how he was going to structure his player personnel department. It’s different than it was. There may be some different people there too. I’m not sure. He hasn’t even met anyone here, so I’m not indicating that people aren’t going to be here, I’m just saying that he has to go through that whole process.”

On Tom Telesco’s qualifications:

“He’s very impressive and has a great understanding of our franchise. Even though he was somewhat modest up there when he was talking about the player evaluation part, he’s done it all. “

On whether or not he liked Tom Telesco’s statement regarding this organization being fan-focused:

“Absolutely. Our fans are an integral part of our success here. We have to get back to winning again.”

On how he feels about making this organization more focused on the NFL Draft:

“Everyone pretty much knows that to be a successful organization, you have to depend on the draft.”

On the number of candidates and interviews conducted in the search for the new general manager:

“There were four.”

On the reasons he didn’t choose Jimmy Raye:

“There was no specific reason, as I said. He’s a very qualified candidate. I thought that Tom brought something different to the table and change was something that I was looking for. Not to say that Jimmy’s way wasn’t the right way, it’s just that I think that change is sometimes good. I’m looking for something different in the future.”

On the dynamics that drew him to hire Tom Telesco:

“His personality, his confidence and his ability to lead were the most important things to me. I think that he’s a great communicator and he’s well-respected in the league. I think that you’ll hear that from his peers and from other people in the league.”

On whether or not Telesco’s experience in helping to turn the Indianapolis Colts around will help him:

“Absolutely. He saw a team that was not doing well and he saw it turn around very quickly for a decade to be very successful, then continue to be successful.”

On whether or not he talked to Bill Polian or others to get a feel for Tom Telesco:

“I did not talk to Bill Polian, but I talked to some other people around the league and he was given quite a reference.”

On what Ron Wolf brought to the hiring process:

“Credibility in terms of his knowledge. He was a successful GM in the National Football League with the Green Bay Packers. He knows a lot of people. We did a lot of referencing through him and he’s interviewed a lot of people before so I relied a lot on his ability and his judgment.”

On the differences in this interview process and the ones with A.J. Smith and John Butler:

“It was pretty much the same.”

On whether or not there was one answer during the interview process where he realized Tom Telesco was the right candidate:

“It was the vision question where he explained to me how he was going to build this team into a winning franchise. That was the thing that impressed me the most.”


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