President of Football Operations John Spanos and General Manager Tom Telesco promised a comprehensive, extensive search for the 16th head coach in Chargers history.
On Thursday, the team announced the first interview has been completed as they met with Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith.
Here is the rundown on the first confirmed candidate:
NFL Coaching Experience:17 years
Current Position:Defensive Coordinator – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Full Coaching Resume:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2016-Present – Defensive Coordinator
2008-14 – Head Coach
2003-07 – Defensive Coordinator
1999-01 – Defensive Assistant and Defensive Line Coach
2002 – Linebackers Coach
1987 – Defensive Line Coach
1988-95 – Special Teams Coach
1996-98 – Defensive Coordinator
1986 – Defensive Line Coach
San Diego State
1982 – Graduate Assistant
1983-85 – Linebackers Coach
Smith has a proven track record as an NFL head coach, compiling a 66-46 record over seven seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. He guided the team to a pair of NFC South titles and four playoff appearances over his tenure, including a trip to the 2012 NFC Championship Game. Under his tutelage, Atlanta's defense twice finished in the top five in interceptions and fewest points allowed.
The AP NFL Coach of the Year in 2008 and a three-time Sporting News Coach of the Year, Smith began his tenure in Atlanta with five straight winning seasons. His 56 wins over that span are the second-most by a first-time head coach in NFL history.
This season marked Smith's first as defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the team finished in the top 10 in sacks, interceptions and forced fumbles. They tied for the league lead with four pick-sixes.
The 2016 season marked Smith's second time serving an NFL defensive coordinator as he led the Jaguars defense from 2003-07. For those five seasons, Jacksonville allowed the fourth-fewest yards per game (300.1) and points per game (18.2), and totaled the eighth most interceptions (90).
Smith made the leap to the NFL in 1999, spending three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. He was a member of the staff that won Super Bowl XXXV behind one of the top defenses of all time. The Ravens allowed only 165 points (10.3 points per game) that year, which is the fewest ever allowed by a defense in NFL history.