Don Coryell

Donald David Coryell (October 17, 1924 – July 1, 2010) was an American football coach, who coached in the National Football League (NFL) first with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1973 to 1977 and then the San Diego Chargers from 1978 to 1986. He was well known for his innovations to football's passing offense. Coryell's offense was commonly known as "Air Coryell". Coryell was the first coach ever to win more than 100 games at both the collegiate and professional level. He was inducted into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame in 1986. Coryell is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. The Professional Football Researchers Association named Coryell to the PRFA Hall of Very Good Class of 2010 [2]

Don Coryell
Don Coryell
Coryell, c. 1970
Biographical details
BornOctober 17, 1924
Seattle, Washington
DiedJuly 1, 2010 (aged 85)
La Mesa, California[1]
Alma materWashington
Playing career
Position(s)Defensive back
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1950Washington (assistant)
1952Farrington HS (HI)
1955Wenatchee Valley College
1956Fort Ord
1960USC (assistant)
1961–1972San Diego State
1973–1977St. Louis Cardinals
1978–1986San Diego Chargers
Head coaching record
Overall127–24–3 (college)
114–89–1 (NFL)
Tournaments3–6 (NFL playoffs)
Accomplishments and honors
Los Angeles Chargers Hall of Fame
San Diego Chargers 50th Anniversary Team
San Diego Chargers 40th Anniversary Team
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1999 (profile)

Early career

Don Coryell enlisted in the United States Army in 1943 and spent 3½ years as a paratrooper.[3] He played defensive back for the University of Washington from 1949 to 1951. Coryell earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Washington.[4] He was a high school coach in Hawaii, where his teams ran a version of the I formation running game.[5] Coryell would also coach at the University of British Columbia (where he compiled a 2 win, 16 loss record),[6] Wenatchee Valley College, and a military team at Fort Ord.[3] As head coach at Whittier College from 1957 to 1959, Whittier won conference championships in each of Coryell's three years.[7] He would also rely on the I formation at Whittier.[3][5] In 1960, he was an assistant coach under John McKay for the USC Trojans, where the I formation would be its signature offense for decades.[5] While the origin of the I formation is unclear, Coryell was one of its pioneers.[3]

San Diego State University

Coryell coached 12 seasons with the San Diego State University Aztecs, using the philosophy of recruiting only junior college players. There, he compiled a record of 104 wins, 19 losses and 2 ties including three undefeated seasons in 1966, 1968 and 1969. His teams enjoyed winning streaks of 31 and 25 games, and won three bowl games during his tenure.[8] Coryell helped lead SDSU from an NCAA Division II to an NCAA Division I program in 1969.[8]

It was at SDSU that Coryell began to emphasize a passing offense. Coryell recounted, "We could only recruit a limited number of runners and linemen against schools like USC and UCLA. And there were a lot of kids in Southern California passing and catching the ball. There seemed to be a deeper supply of quarterbacks and receivers. And the passing game was also open to some new ideas.[5]" Coryell adds, "Finally we decided it's crazy that we can win games by throwing the ball without the best personnel. So we threw the hell out of the ball and won some games. When we started doing that, we were like 55–5–1.[9]"

John Madden served as Coryell's defensive assistant at SDSU. Madden had first met Coryell attending a coaching clinic on the I formation led by McKay.[9] "We'd go to these clinics, and afterward, everyone would run up to talk to McKay", said Madden. "Coryell was there because he introduced (McKay). I was thinking, 'If (McKay) learned from him, I'll go talk to (Coryell).' [9]"

At San Diego State, Coryell helped develop a number of quarterbacks for the NFL, including Don Horn, Jesse Freitas, Dennis Shaw and future NFL MVP Brian Sipe. Wide receivers who went on to the NFL include Isaac Curtis, Gary Garrison, and Haven Moses.[10] Coryell also coached two players who later became actors: Fred Dryer and Carl Weathers.

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals under Coryell had three consecutive seasons (1974–1976) with double-digit victories and won two consecutive division titles (1974–1975). Those were the only division titles the Cardinals ever won while in St. Louis. Prior to 1974, the Cardinals had not been in the playoffs in 26 years since 1948 when they were the Chicago Cardinals. In 1975, the "Cardiac Cardinals" won seven times in the game's last minute.[11] Multi-purpose back Terry Metcalf set an NFL all-purpose yards record at the time in 1975. When St. Louis did not re-sign Metcalf and he left for the Canadian Football League after 1977, Coryell departed also.[11]

Dan Dierdorf developed into an All-Pro offensive lineman under Coryell and would later be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Cornerback Roger Wehrli and tight end Jackie Smith were already established All-Pros prior to Coryell's tenure at St. Louis, and they are also members of the Hall of Fame.

The 1974 Cardinals started the season 7–0. They would not start a season as well as 4–0 until 2012, the franchise's 25th in Arizona.

San Diego Chargers

Coryell was hired as the San Diego Chargers' head coach on September 25, 1978, the same day as the infamous PSA Flight 182 crash in San Diego.[12] When Don Coryell began coaching the team, the Chargers had a win-loss record of 1–4 for that season. The team broke their losing streak with eight additional wins and three losses that season after Coryell became head coach.[13] The Chargers 9–7 record was their first winning season since 1969.[14]

He won three straight division titles (1979, 1980, 1981) with the Chargers, reaching the playoffs four consecutive times. Previously, the Chargers had not been to the playoffs since 1965. With Dan Fouts as quarterback, San Diego's "Air Coryell" was among the greatest passing offenses in NFL history. The Chargers led the league in passing yards an NFL record six consecutive years from 1978 to 1983 [15] and again in 1985. They also led the league in total yards in offense in 1980–1983 and 1985. The Pro Football Hall of Fame called Coryell's offenses "one of the most explosive and exciting offenses that ever set foot on an NFL field."[16] Fouts, wide receiver Charlie Joiner, and tight end Kellen Winslow would all be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame from those Charger teams.

The Chargers in 1979 were the first AFC Western Division champion to run more passing plays (541) than rushing (481).[17] That season, Fouts was only the 2nd player to pass for 4,000 yards in a season—throwing an NFL record 4,082—before extending his own record for total passing yards in a season in 1980 and again in 1981. In a nine-game strike-shortened 1982 season, Fouts averaged 320 yards passing per game, an NFL record that stood until Drew Brees averaged 342 in 2011.[18][19] With Winslow, Coryell redefined the tight end position into a deep, pass-catching threat too fast for a linebacker and too big for a defensive back. Coryell was astute to realize that "If we're asking Kellen to block a defensive end and not catch passes, I'm not a very good coach." [20]

In San Diego, Coryell groomed another set of all-purpose backs in James Brooks and later Lionel James, a mere 5′6″ and 171 pound running back, who broke Metcalf's record in 1985 while also setting a record of 1,027 receiving yards by a running back.[21] A rookie in 1978, John Jefferson went on to become the first receiver in league history to gain 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons while also grabbing 36 touchdowns. Traded away from the Chargers by ownership because of a contract dispute,[22] Jefferson never reached 1,000 yards again in his career. Wes Chandler was acquired to replace Jefferson. In the 1982 strike year, Chandler, set the record of 129 yards receiving per game that is still an NFL record.[23]

Detractors of Coryell point to the Chargers' defensive shortcomings given that his defenses were in the bottom ten league-wide from 1981 to 1986.[24] However, in 1979, the Chargers allowed the fewest points (246) in the AFC. In 1980 their defense led the NFL with 60 sacks spearheaded by a frontline of All-Pros in Fred Dean, Gary "Big Hands" Johnson, and Louie Kelcher. The group was locally nicknamed the "Bruise Brothers".[25][26] However, in 1981, Dean, like Jefferson, was traded away due to a contract dispute with ownership.[27] Dean contends he was making the same amount of money as his brother-in-law who was a truck driver.[28] The Chargers' defense would never be the same afterwards as it surrendered the most passing yards in the NFL in both 1981[29] and 1982.[30] Meanwhile, Dean would go on in the same year to win UPI NFC Defensive Player of the Year (while playing in only 11 games) and help lead the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl that year and again in 1984. Dean was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

"I can't say how much it affected us, because we did make it to the AFC championship game", said Johnson of the loss of Dean. "But I could say if we had more pass rush from the corner, it might've been different."[31] U-T San Diego in 2013 called the trade "perhaps the biggest blunder in [Chargers'] franchise history."[32]

Tom Bass, who was a defensive coordinator for Coryell with both SDSU and the Chargers, said Coryell focused on offense during practice. He left the coaching of defensive players and the defensive game plan to Bass."In planning and designing defense, he simply had no interest", said Bass.[33]

Hall of Fame consideration

Coryell led the Cardinals and Chargers to five division titles, and the Chargers led the league in passing in seven of eight years.[34] However, his failure to lead his teams to a Super Bowl has presumably kept him out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[35] Voters have cited his 3–6 postseason record as further evidence.[36] His teams' defenses were not as strong as its offenses, which could be attributed to the offensive unit scoring quickly and not providing the defensive side sufficient rest.[37] Tony Dungy, a Super Bowl head coach, says that "If you talk about impact on the game, training other coaches -- John Madden, Bill Walsh, Joe Gibbs to name a few -- and influencing how things are done, Don Coryell is probably right up there with Paul Brown. He was a genius."[35] Sports Illustrated writer Jim Trotter, who votes on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors, said selectors are hesitant to vote for coaches when there is a backlog of deserving players.[38]

Coryell's direct development of future coaches included Super Bowl head coaches Madden and Gibbs, Super Bowl offensive coordinators Ernie Zampese and Al Saunders, as well as Jim Hanifan and Rod Dowhower. Adding to the Coryell coaching tree, Super Bowl offensive coordinator Norv Turner tutored under Zampese, and another Super Bowl offensive coordinator Mike Martz studied under both Zampese and later Turner.[39] Dan Henning coached under Gibbs.

Fouts says, "He influenced offensive and defensive football because if you are going to have three or four receivers out there, you better have an answer for it on the other side of the ball. If it wasn't for Don, I wouldn't be in the Hall of Fame."[40] "Whoever heard of the nickel or dime pass defense before 'Air Coryell' forced opponents to come up with strategies to combat Coryell's aerial assault?" wrote Fouts to Hall of Fame voters in support of Coryell's induction.[41]

In Madden's Hall of Fame induction speech, he mentioned his time at San Diego State "with a great coach that someday will be in here, Don Coryell. He had a real influence on my coaching. Joe Gibbs was on that staff, too."[42]

Gibbs also lobbied for Coryell's induction into the Hall of Fame, stating "(Coryell) was extremely creative and fostered things that are still in today's game because he was so creative. I think he's affected a lot of coaches, and I'd like to see him get in."[43]

Mike Martz, who won a Super Bowl as the offensive coordinator of the "Greatest Show on Turf" with the St. Louis Rams and advanced to another Super Bowl as the Rams' head coach: "Don is the father of the modern passing game. People talk about the 'West Coast' offense, but Don started the 'West Coast' decades ago and kept updating it. You look around the NFL now, and so many teams are running a version of the Coryell offense. Coaches have added their own touches, but it's still Coryell's offense. He has disciples all over the league. He changed the game", adds Martz.[40] "I'm not sure why that hasn't been acknowledged by the Hall of Fame."[4]

Winslow points out that Coryell had an indirect hand in the 49ers', Washington Redskins' and St. Louis Rams' Super Bowl teams. "They call it the West Coast offense because San Francisco won Super Bowls with it, but it was a variation of what we did in San Diego. Joe Gibbs' itty-bitty receivers on the outside and two tight ends in the middle, (that's) a variation of Coryell's offense in San Diego. It's just a personnel change, but it's the same thing. When the Rams won their Super Bowl, it was the same offense, same terminology. For Don Coryell to not be in the Hall of Fame is a lack of knowledge of the voters. That's the nicest way that I can put that. A lack of understanding of the legacy of the game."[44]

"In the offense we won the Super Bowl with in 1999, the foundation was Don Coryell", former Rams coach Dick Vermeil said. "The route philosophies, the vertical passing game ... everything stemmed from the founder, Don Coryell. The genius."[45]

In 2010, Coryell for the first time was among the 15 finalists considered by the Hall of Fame selection committee on the Saturday before the Super Bowl. He was not selected.[46] After Coryell's passing later that year, Chargers President Dean Spanos said "He revolutionized the game of football, not only in San Diego, but throughout the entire NFL. Don Coryell was a legend not only with the Chargers but throughout San Diego. Though unfortunately he did not live long enough to see it, hopefully one day his bust will find its proper place in Pro Football's Hall of Fame."[5] Delivering a eulogy at Coryell's funeral, Madden noted, "You know, I'm sitting down there in front, and next to me is Joe Gibbs, and next to him is Dan Fouts, and the three of us are in the Hall of Fame because of Don Coryell." Choking up and then pausing, he continued, "There's something missing."[47] Coryell was a finalist again in 2015.[48]

Coaching personality

Coryell was adored by his players. "The most important thing to me about Don Coryell is him as a person. He actually cared about us as players. A lot of coaches don't even know who you are", said Fouts.[49] Coryell did not want to intimidate his players and instead treated his players with respect, allowing them to showcase their strengths. "I don't think a coach has to be a son of a bitch to be successful. I think you can treat men like men", he said.[50]


Don Coryell died on July 1, 2010 at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, California. The cause of death was not officially released, but Coryell had been in poor health for some time.[20]

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Whittier Poets (Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) (1957–1959)
1957 Whittier 6–2–1
1958 Whittier 8–1
1959 Whittier 8–2
Whittier: 22–5–1
San Diego State Aztecs (California Collegiate Athletic Association) (1961–1967)
1961 San Diego State 7–2–1 2–2–1 T–3rd
1962 San Diego State 8–2 6–0 1st
1963 San Diego State 7–2 4–1 2nd
1964 San Diego State 8–2 4–1 2nd
1965 San Diego State 8–2 3–2 3rd
1966 San Diego State 11–0 5–0 1st W Camellia
1967 San Diego State 10–1 5–0 1st W Camellia
San Diego State Aztecs (NCAA College Division independent) (1968)
1968 San Diego State 9–0–1
San Diego State Aztecs (Pacific Coast Athletic Association) (1969–1972)
1969 San Diego State 11–0 6–0 1st W Pasadena 18
1970 San Diego State 9–2 5–1 T–1st
1971 San Diego State 6–5 2–3 T–4th
1972 San Diego State 10–1 4–0 1st 20
San Diego State: 104–19–2 46–10–1
Total: 126–24–3
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
STL 1973 4 9 1 .308 4th in NFC East
STL 1974 10 4 0 .714 1st in NFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to Minnesota Vikings in Divisional Game.
STL 1975 11 3 0 .786 1st in NFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to Los Angeles Rams in Divisional Game.
STL 1976 10 4 0 .714 2nd in NFC East
STL 1977 7 7 0 .500 3rd in NFC East
STL Total 42 27 1 .607 0 2 .000
SD 1978 8 4 0 .667 3rd in AFC West
SD 1979 12 4 0 .750 1st in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Houston Oilers in Divisional Game.
SD 1980 11 5 0 .688 1st in AFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to Oakland Raiders in AFC Championship.
SD 1981 10 6 0 .625 1st in AFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to Cincinnati Bengals in AFC Championship.
SD 1982 6 3 0 .667 2nd in AFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to Miami Dolphins in Divisional Game.
SD 1983 6 10 0 .375 4th in AFC West
SD 1984 7 9 0 .438 5th in AFC West
SD 1985 8 8 0 .500 3rd in AFC West
SD 1986 1 7 0 .125 5th in AFC West
SD Total 69 56 0 .552 3 4 .429
NFL Total[51] 111 83 1 .572 3 6 .333
Total 111 83 1 .572 3 6 .333

See also


  1. ^ "Innovative football coach Coryell dies at 85". NBC Sports. 1 July 2010. Archived from the original on July 5, 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  2. ^ "Hall of Very Good Class of 2010". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Layden, Tim. "Don Coryell 1924--2010". Retrieved 2010-07-07.
  4. ^ a b Farmer, Sam (2010-07-02). "Don Coryell dies at 85; longtime coach of the San Diego Chargers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
  5. ^ a b c d e Center, Bill. "Don Coryell, ex-Chargers, Aztecs coach dies at 85". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2012-04-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) UBC Hall of Fame – Frank Gnup
  7. ^ "Former Poets coach Don Coryell dies at 85". Whittier College Poets. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
  8. ^ a b "Former Aztec Coach, Innovator Don Coryell Dies At 85". San Diego State Aztec Athletics. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
  9. ^ a b c Inman, Cam. "For Don Coryell, to air was divine". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
  10. ^ Jaworski 2010, p.84
  11. ^ a b O'Neill, Dan. "Former football Cardinals remember Don Coryell". Retrieved 2010-07-03.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Sports E-Cyclopedia History of the San Diego Chargers.
  14. ^ Jaworski 2010, p.90
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Air Coryell". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on June 6, 2012.
  17. ^ Elderkin, Phil (September 16, 1980). "Chargers, in passing, write a book". Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on January 28, 2014.
  18. ^ NFL Single-Season Passing Yards per Game Leaders |
  19. ^ Cacciola, Scott (December 13, 2011). "The NFL's Mount Passmore". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on January 4, 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Ex-Chargers coach Don Coryell dies". Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  21. ^ Neville, David (March 31, 2003). "Little Big Man". San Diego Chargers. Archived from the original on February 3, 2011. Retrieved February 3, 2011.
  22. ^ CNN Retrieved May 1, 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^
  24. ^ "San Diego Chargers Franchise Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2010-07-04.
  25. ^ "Grambling State University Loses Two Football Legends". Fox Sports Interactive Media, LLC. August 11, 2010. Archived from the original on May 27, 2011.
  26. ^ "No. 16: Chargers' best draft class". ESPN. March 28, 2009. Retrieved May 27, 2011. The 2001 class was good, but the 1975 class ranks the best. San Diego had four of the first 33 picks in the draft, and the Chargers selected three defensive linemen that would form the nucleus of "The Bruise Brothers" and once formed three-fourths of the AFC Pro Bowl defensive line.(subscription required)
  27. ^ CNN Retrieved May 1, 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  28. ^ Wilson, Bernie (July 31, 2008). "Charger-turned-Niner Fred Dean answers Hall's call". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-11-03.
  29. ^ "1981 NFL Opposition & Defensive Statistics –". Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  30. ^ "1982 NFL Opposition & Defensive Statistics –". Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  31. ^ Thomas, Jim (July 30, 2008). "Fred Dean: Situational pass-rusher made most of his opportunities". The State Journal-Register. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016.
  32. ^ Krasovic, Tom (June 5, 2013). "Chargers had a Fearsome Foursome, too". U-T San Diego. Archived from the original on January 27, 2014.
  33. ^ Jaworski, Ron (2010). The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays. Random House. pp. 82, 110. ISBN 978-0-345-51795-1.
  34. ^ Paris, Jay (January 11, 2013). "Don Coryell's Hall bid falls short". U-T San Diego. Archived from the original on January 12, 2013.
  35. ^ a b Trotter, Jim (2010-07-02). "Don Coryell's bold approach helped mold the NFL into what it is today". Retrieved 2010-07-10.
  36. ^ Miklasz, Bernie. "Don Coryell changed the NFL". Retrieved 2010-07-11.
  37. ^ Carucci, Vic. "Coryell's attacking offense mirrored his attitude on game, life". Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  38. ^ Canepa, Nick (February 21, 2010). "Canepa: NFL Hall of Fame tough nut to crack". San Diego Union Tribune. Archived from the original on November 22, 2011.
  39. ^ Magee, Jerry. 2002. Air Coryell Redux. San Diego Union Tribune, February 1 (accessed October 4, 2008) Archived April 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ a b Shannhan, Tom. 2008. "Don Coryell Belongs in the Hall of Fame", July 1 (accessed October 4, 2008)
  41. ^ Williamson, Bill. "Fouts' support for Coryell". ESPN. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
  42. ^ John Madden's Enshrinement Speech Transcript, August 5, 2006 (accessed October 4, 2008)
  43. ^ "Hall of Fame notes: Gibbs lobbies for Coryell, Thurman for Reed". Archived from the original on 2013-01-05. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
  44. ^ "Hall of Fame enshrinement weekend blog". Archived from the original on 2009-03-08. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
  45. ^ Kaufman, Ira. "Coryell's legacy was more than a passing fancy". Archived from the original on 2010-07-10. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  46. ^ "Coryell denied entry to Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  47. ^ Wilson, Bernie. "Madden chokes up at Coryell memorial service". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  48. ^ "Pro Football Hall of Fame must break up traffic jam". The Sports Xchange. January 29, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  49. ^ Jaworski 2010, p.82
  50. ^ Jaworski 2010, p.85
  51. ^ Don Coryell Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks -

External links

1961 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1961 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State College during the 1961 NCAA College Division football season.

San Diego State competed in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). The team was led by head coach Don Coryell, in his first year, and played home games at Aztec Bowl. They finished the season with seven wins, two losses and one tie (7–2–1, 2–2–1 CCAA). This was a big turnaround from the previous year when they had won only a single game.

1968 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1968 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State College during the 1968 NCAA College Division football season.

This was San Diego State's last year in the College Division of the NCAA. They had been a member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) for the previous 29 years, but competed as an Independent during the 1968 season. The team was led by head coach Don Coryell, in his eighth year, and played their home games at San Diego Stadium in San Diego, California.

They finished the season undefeated for the second time under Coach Coryell, with nine wins, zero losses, and one tie (9–0–1). At the end of the season, the Aztecs were voted the College Division national champion for the third consecutive year in the UPI Small College Football Poll and No. 2 in the AP Small College Football Poll.

1971 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1971 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State College during the 1971 NCAA University Division football season as a member of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association.The team was led by head coach Don Coryell, in his eleventh year, and played home games at San Diego Stadium in San Diego, California. They finished the season with a record of six wins and five losses (6–5, 2–3 PCAA).

1972 St. Louis Cardinals (NFL) season

The 1972 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 53rd year with the National Football League and thirteenth in St. Louis. On September 2, Bill Bidwill purchased the stock of his brother Charles "Stormy" Bidwill to become sole owner of the Cardinals. The adopted sons of Charles and Violet Bidwill, the two had co-owned the team since their mother's death in January 1962.After starting at 2–2, with wins over 1970 and 1971 playoff participants Baltimore and Minnesota, the Cardinals went 0–7–1, then won their final two games over the Rams and Eagles to finish at 4–9–1 for the second consecutive season and third time in the past four. Second-year head coach Bob Hollway was fired December 18, the day after the regular season finale, succeeded a month later by San Diego State head coach Don Coryell.

1977 St. Louis Cardinals (NFL) season

The 1977 St. Louis Cardinals season was the franchise’s 56th year with the National Football League and the 17th season in St. Louis. This was the final season in St Louis for head coach Don Coryell who began coaching the San Diego Chargers the following year.

1978 San Diego Chargers season

The 1978 San Diego Chargers season was the team's 19th season, and 9th in the National Football League.

The Chargers improved on their 7–7 record in 1977. This season included the "Holy Roller" game. It was Don Coryell's first season as the team's head coach, replacing Tommy Prothro after four games, and the team's first 16-game schedule.

Said the 2006 edition of Pro Football Prospectus, "The Chargers were one of the worst franchises in the NFL before they hired Don Coryell four games into the 1978 season. The Chargers were 1–3 at the time, but finished 8–4 under Coryell, winning seven of their last eight games for the franchise's first winning record since 1969. Blessed with Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, the creative Coryell always designed potent offenses, but the San Diego Defense didn't catch up until 1979...."

It wasn't all roses for new Head Coach Coryell as he lost three out of his first four games, before ending the season by winning seven out of the last eight.

1980 Pro Bowl

The 1980 Pro Bowl was the NFL's 30th annual all-star game which featured the outstanding performers from the 1979 season. The game was played on Sunday, January 27, 1980, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii before 48,060 fans. The final score was NFC 37, AFC 27.Don Coryell of the San Diego Chargers lead the AFC team against an NFC team coached by Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry. The referee was Dick Jorgensen.Chuck Muncie of the New Orleans Saints was named the game's Most Valuable Player. Players on the winning NFC team received $5,000 apiece while the AFC participants each took home $2,500.Starting in his seventh and final Pro Bowl, defensive end Jack Youngblood of the Los Angeles Rams played in the game with a fractured left fibula, just as he had played during the NFC Divisional Playoff and in Super Bowl XIV. Pro Bowl Flashback Friday: Jack Youngblood's broken legThis was the first of thirty consecutive Pro Bowls played in Honolulu. It also marked a return to the game being played on a Sunday.

1986 San Diego Chargers season

The 1986 San Diego Chargers season was the franchise's 17th season in the National Football League (NFL), and its 27th overall. the team failed to improve on their 8–8 record from 1985 Following a stagnant 1–7 start, Head Coach Don Coryell was fired and Al Saunders was named interim Head Coach. After the season, Saunders was named the permanent Head Coach and would hold the position through the end of the 1988 season. Leslie O'Neal was named Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Air Coryell

In American football, Air Coryell is the offensive scheme and philosophy developed by former San Diego Chargers coach Don Coryell. The offensive philosophy has been also called the "Coryell offense" or the "vertical offense".

With Dan Fouts as quarterback, the San Diego Chargers' offense was among the greatest passing offenses in National Football League history. The Chargers led the league in passing yards an NFL record six consecutive years from 1978 to 1983 and again in 1985. They also led the league in total yards in offense 1978–83 and 1985. Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner, and Kellen Winslow would all be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame from those Charger teams.

Haven Moses

Haven Christopher Moses (born July 27, 1946) is a former professional American football player. He played professionally for fourteen seasons as a wide receiver in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL).

Moses initially played college football at Los Angeles Harbor College, then transferred to San Diego State University under head coach Don Coryell.

I formation

The I formation is one of the most common offensive formations in American football. The I formation draws its name from the vertical (as viewed from the opposing endzone) alignment of quarterback, fullback, and running back, particularly when contrasted with the same players' alignments in the T formation.

The formation begins with the usual 5 offensive linemen (2 offensive tackles, 2 guards, and a center), the quarterback under center, and two backs in-line behind the quarterback. The base variant adds a tight end to one side of the line and two wide receivers, one at each end of the line.

List of Arizona Cardinals head coaches

The Arizona Cardinals are a professional American football team based in Glendale, Arizona. They are a member of the Western Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The team began as the Morgan Athletic Club in 1898 in Chicago, Illinois. The team's second name was the Racine Normals, since it played at Normal Field on Racine Street. In 1901, they were renamed to the Racine Street Cardinals, a name that came from the University of Chicago jerseys that the team used, which were described as "Cardinal red". The team was established in Chicago in 1898 and was a charter member of the NFL in 1920. The team has played their home games at the University of Phoenix Stadium since 2006 and is the oldest franchise in the NFL.The team has moved to numerous cities during its history. After staying in Chicago from 1920 to 1959, it moved to St. Louis, Missouri and remained there from 1960 to 1987. It played in Tempe, Arizona, from 1988 to 2005, before eventually settling in Glendale, Arizona in 2006, where it now resides. Since 1920, two Cardinals coaches have won the NFL Championship: Norman Barry in 1925 and Jimmy Conzelman in 1947. Five other coaches—Don Coryell, Jim Hanifan, Vince Tobin, Ken Whisenhunt and Bruce Arians—have led the Cardinals to the playoffs, and in 2009 they went to the Super Bowl.There have been 40 head coaches for the Cardinals franchise since it became a professional team in 1920; fourteen of the team's coaches are former Cardinals players. Ernie Nevers and Jimmy Conzelman are the only coaches to have had more than one tenure with the team. Pop Ivy and Gene Stallings both coached the team during its move from one city to another. Cardinals coach Roy Andrews is tied for the lowest winning percentage among the team's coaches (.000), having lost the only game he coached, in 1931. Co-coach Walt Kiesling lost all 10 games he coached in 1943, when the team merged with the Steelers during World War II and was known as Card-Pitt. Co-coaches Ray Willsey, Ray Prochaska, and Chuck Drulis have the highest winning percentage among Cardinals coaches (1.000). The team's all-time leader in games coached is Ken Whisenhunt, who was hired on January 14, 2007, with 96. Whisenhunt was fired on December 31, 2012, after the Cardinals recorded a 5–11 record in 2012.The all-time leader in wins is Arians with 50, including one playoff victory. The all-time leader in wins is Bruce Arians with 50, including one playoff victory.

List of Los Angeles Chargers head coaches

The Los Angeles Chargers are a professional American football team based in the Greater Los Angeles Area. The Chargers compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) West division. There have been 15 coaches in Los Angeles Chargers franchise history, including Sid Gillman, who coached the Los Angeles Chargers' first and only season in 1960 before the team's move to San Diego, California in 1961.

List of San Diego State Aztecs football seasons

This is a list of seasons completed by the San Diego State Aztecs football team of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The team began competition in 1921.

San Diego State has been a member of a conference for all but a few seasons since it started play

Member of the Southern California Junior College Conference 1921–1924

Member of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 1926–1938

Charter Member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association 1939–1967

Charter Member of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association 1969–1975

Member of the Western Athletic Conference 1978–1998

Member of the Mountain West Conference 1999–PresentWhen the NCAA first started classification in 1937, San Diego State was part of the NCAA College Division (Small College). While playing in the College Division under College Hall of Fame coach Don Coryell, they were voted the football National Champion for three consecutive years, 1966–1968. They moved to the NCAA University Division (Major College) in 1969.

List of San Diego State Aztecs head football coaches

The San Diego State Aztecs college football team represent San Diego State University in the Mountain West Conference. The Aztecs competed in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) College Division in the years 1921–1968. In 1969, the team moved to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I.

The program has had 18 head coaches in its 94 seasons of existence (through 2016). Don Coryell is the coach with the highest winning percentage (.840) and most wins (104) of any San Diego State coach. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999. From a Bowl perspective, the current coach Rocky Long has been the most successful. He has led the Aztecs to a Bowl game in each of his six years as head coach.

Los Angeles Chargers Hall of Fame

The Los Angeles Chargers are a professional American football team in the National Football League (NFL) based in the Los Angeles Area. The club began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL), and spent its first season in Los Angeles before moving to San Diego in 1961. They returned to Los Angeles in 2017. The Chargers created their Hall of Fame in 1976. Eligible candidates for the Hall of Fame must have been retired for at least four seasons. Selections are made by a five-member committee chaired by Dean Spanos, Chargers vice-chairman. As of 1992, other committee members included Bob Breitbard, founder of the San Diego Hall of Champions; Ron Fowler, president of the Greater San Diego Sports Association; Jane Rappoport, president of the Charger Backers; and Bill Johnston, the team's director of public relations.The initial four members—former players Emil Karas, Frank Buncom, Bob Laraba, and Jacque MacKinnon—were inducted posthumously in 1976. From 1986 through 1992, there were no new inductions. The Los Angeles Times wrote in 1992, "The Chargers have not done a good job in recent years of recognizing their former players." Dan Fouts and Charlie Joiner were inducted in 1993. "It embarrasses me to go into the Hall of Fame before Don Coryell, because if it wasn't for Don Coryell, I wouldn't be in the Hall of Fame for the Chargers," said Fouts of his former head coach. Coryell was inducted the following year. The Chargers allowed the 2012 inductee to be determined by fans, who selected punter Darren Bennett.The members of the Hall of Fame were honored in San Diego at the Chargers Ring of Honor, founded in 2000 and viewable above the visiting team's sideline of Qualcomm Stadium on the press level. Before its introduction in 2000, the Chargers and the Oakland Raiders were the only NFL teams without a Ring of Honor. In 2013, the Chargers also inducted their 1963 AFL Championship team into their Ring of Honor; 15 members of the team were already in the team's Hall of Fame.

Paul Governali

Paul Vincent "Pitchin' Paul" Governali (January 5, 1921 – February 14, 1978) was a professional American football quarterback in the National Football League. An All-American at Columbia University, he was the 1942 recipient of the Maxwell Award for College Player of the Year and the first runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. At quarterback, he passed for 1,442 yards in nine games that season, threw 19 passes for touchdowns, and completed 52 percent of his passes, all new collegiate records. He was also among the leading punters in the nation. He still holds the Columbia record for touchdown passes in one game (five).

After graduating in 1943, he passed up offers from both professional baseball and football teams to enlist in the US Marines, where he served for three years.

He went on to play for the National Football League's Boston Yanks and New York Giants (1946-1948).

After a lackluster 1948 season, Governali retired from professional football and returned to Columbia, where he worked as an assistant coach while pursuing his doctorate in education, which he received in 1951.

He returned to coaching football at San Diego State University for five years from 1956 to 1960. The Aztecs had a lackluster record during those years and Governali was succeeded by Don Coryell, who led them to their best years.

Governali was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

Paul Governali also had a minor stint as an actor, portraying a professional football player in the 1948 movie titled, "Triple Threat."Paul Governali was married to Edna Governali with whom they had 4 children: Paul, Jeannie, Nicole, and Sam.

San Diego State Aztecs football

The San Diego State Aztecs football team represents San Diego State University in the sport of American football. The Aztecs compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and the West Division of the Mountain West Conference (MW). They play their homes games at SDCCU Stadium and are currently coached by Rocky Long. They have won twenty-one conference championships and three national championships at the small college division.They were scheduled to become a football-only member of the Big East Conference in July 2013, but on January 17, the Mountain West's board of directors voted to reinstate San Diego State.

Tom Bass (American football)

Tom Bass is a retired American football coach who spent 30 years as an assistant with the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and San Diego Chargers. He played at San Jose State University as a lineman until a bout of polio left him unable to play football. He then served as an undergraduate coach, and upon graduation, as the only full time assistant under Don Coryell. He later worked on the Chargers staff with Sid Gillman, coaching QB’s with John Hadal, he was the first Coach hired by Coach Paul Brown on the inaugural Bengals staff, and the Buccaneers staff under John McKay. He joined the Buccaneers in their inaugural season as their director of pro scouting, and unofficially took over the offensive coordinator role when John Rauch resigned. By the next season, he had become the team's defensive coordinator. He is credited with designing the Tampa Bay defense that ranked at or near the top of the league from 1978 to 1981. He left Tampa Bay before the 1982 NFL season to join the Chargers, tasked with improving their league-last pass defense. He was also noted for teaching clinics to help female fans understand the game of football, and for having written two volumes of poetry. He has published several books of football drills and instructional techniques.

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