A new era for the Chargers begins with a new head coach.
One day after the team announced they were relocating to Los Angeles, the Bolts named Anthony Lynn the 16th head coach in franchise history.
It was a long, comprehensive search that saw the team travel coast-to-coast, meeting with six qualified candidates in a seven day span. While each boasted impressive qualifications, Lynn quickly stood out as the right man for the job the moment he arrived at Chargers Park.
"We were all very impressed from the beginning of his interview," President of Football Operations John Spanos explained. "We set out to land the best head coach we could find, and wanted someone who fit what our team needs in a head coach. It became clear right away that this man is a leader. His answers to tough questions obviously stuck out, but that wasn't the only thing. A lot of it was his demeanor and style. He was authentically passionate, and we could all see he was a natural born leader."
The more the team researched Lynn, the more he emerged as their target.
The 48-year old ascended from running backs coach to offensive coordinator and eventually interim head coach this past season with the Buffalo Bills. As has been his trademark at every coaching stop of his career, Buffalo thrived pounding the rock during his two-year tenure in upstate New York.
This past season, the team led the NFL in rushing yards (2,630), yards per game (164.4) and yards per carry (5.3). They also thrived in 2015, ranking first with 2,432 yards and 4.8 yards per carry. Notably, three Bills surpassed the 500-yard mark (LeSean McCoy-895, Tyrod Taylor-568, Karlos Williams-517) for the first time since 1962. They also had 70 carries of at least 10 yards, which were most in the NFL.
As the Bolts continued to do their homework, it didn't hurt that one of the most iconic players in franchise history gave Lynn a ringing endorsement.
LaDainian Tomlinson played under him with the New York Jets during his final two seasons in 2010-11. Leaving no stone unturned, Spanos called Tomlinson for his thoughts on the potential hire.
"We knew LT played for Coach Lynn, so of course I picked his brain about him. LT had nothing but great things to say."
Lynn proved instrumental in the success of Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson, Bilal Powell, Shonn Greene, Marion Barber, Fred Taylor and Jamal Lewis over stops with the Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets prior to arriving in Buffalo.
"He's got a lot of experience that is valuable," Spanos continued. "He's been coaching for a very long time. There is no mathematical formula (to go by) when making these decisions. What we saw was someone who has the qualities we are looking for, and we are very excited we were able to hire him."