The Los Angeles Chargers made their first official transaction on Friday, naming Anthony Lynn as the team's new head coach. Lynn, 48, joins the Chargers after serving as the Buffalo Bills Assistant Head Coach and Running Backs Coach in 2015-16.
"One thing that's very clear about Anthony Lynn is he's a leader. He's a natural-born leader," said Chargers President-Football Operations John Spanos. "As you can tell, I am very excited about the leadership qualities he's going to bring to our team. He is really going to communicate and connect with our players. He's had a number of great coaching influences in his life and as a former player who won two Super Bowls, Anthony knows first-hand what championship pedigree is all about. We couldn't be more excited to have him lead our franchise into this exciting new era of Chargers football."
"I'm having a hard time even putting into words how excited I am to be the new head coach for the Los Angeles Chargers," said Lynn. "This is really a dream come true. I want all of our fans to know that we're going to start by putting together a great staff and we're going to put together a team with the heart and will of a champion. I know there's a lot of work to be done and I'm going to give everything I have to the Chargers, the Spanos family and the City of Los Angeles."
"Our fans are going to be very excited with Anthony Lynn taking the reins here with the Chargers," said General Manager Tom Telesco. "Anthony has a commanding presence and brings a no-nonsense approach. He is going to be a great leader and we're confident he's going to lead the Chargers to great success that our fans have come to expect out of this organization."
A native of Celina, Texas, Lynn was an All-Southwest Conference running back as a collegian at Texas Tech University, where he rushed for 1,911 yards and 17 touchdowns on 481 carries. That helped him earn a ticket to the NFL where he signed with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 1992. Lynn signed with the Denver Broncos in 1993 and appeared in 13 games. In 1994, he suffered a broken leg and spent the year on injured-reserve. In 1995, he moved on to the Bay Area, spending two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers (1995-96) before concluding his career in Denver with the Broncos (1997-99). In Denver, he won back-to-back Super Bowl championships (XXXII and XXXIII). Lynn hung up his cleats after the 1999 season, having played in 83 career games.
Lynn jumped right into the coaching ranks in 2000, spending three seasons (2000-02) with the Broncos as an offensive assistant and assistant to special teams. In 2003, he landed his first full-time position gig as the running backs coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2003-04). That was followed by similar positions with the Dallas Cowboys (2005-06), Cleveland Browns (2007-08), New York Jets (2009-14) and the Bills (2015-16). Lynn carried the title of assistant head coach in New York in 2014 and with the Bills for his two seasons there.
Lynn spent the last two seasons (2015-16) with the Bills, including the final game of the 2016 season as the team's interim head coach. Buffalo led the NFL in both of Lynn's seasons with the Bills in both rushing yards (2,630 in 2016 and 2,432 in 2015) and rushing touchdowns (29 in 2016 and 19, tie in 2015). In Los Angeles, Lynn will take over a team with a workhorse running back in Melvin Gordon, who broke out with 997 yards on the ground, 1,416 yards from scrimmage and 12 total touchdowns in 2016. The Bills also led the League in average yards per carry (5.3 in 2016 and 4.8, tie in 2015) in each of his two seasons in Upstate New York. More impressively over his last two coaching stops (New York and Buffalo), his teams combined to rush for 18,218 yards during that span (2009-16), the most combined yards in the NFL over that time period.
Lynn is married to Stacey Bell Lynn. He has two children, son, D'Anton, and daughter, Danielle. Stacey is a news anchor at WNBC in New York City. D'Anton played football collegiately at Penn State and professionally with the New York Jets and the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Danielle studied at the University of Oklahoma and is currently in graduate school at the University of North Texas.