LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The San Diego Chargers sacked coach Marty Schottenheimer on Monday after he led the team to an NFL best 14-2 record last season but failed to deliver a Super Bowl.
Schottenheimer’s dismissal ended a power struggle within the Chargers front office in which team owner Dean Spanos backed general manager A.J. Smith.
Spanos said he believed the team simply could not move forward with such “dysfunction between our head coach and general manager.”
“When I decided to move ahead with Marty Schottenheimer in mid-January, I did so with the expectation that the core of his fine coaching staff would remain intact,” Spanos said in a statement on the team’s Web site.
“Unfortunately, that did not prove to be the case, and the process of dealing with these coaching changes convinced me that we simply could not move forward with such dysfunction between our head coach and general manager.
“In short, this entire process over the last month convinced me beyond any doubt that I had to act to change this untenable situation and create an environment where everyone at Charger Park would be pulling in the same direction and working at a championship level.”
Since their playoff loss to the New England Patriots, the Chargers have lost several key members of the coaching staff, including defensive coordinator Wade Phillips who was hired as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
While Schottenheimer has posted a 200-126-1 regular season record with Cleveland, Kansas City, Washington and San Diego, he has not matched that success in the post-season with a meager 5-13 mark.
“This decision was so hard because Marty has been both a friend and valued coach of our team,” Spanos said. “But my first obligation is always to do what is in the best interest of our fans and the entire Charger organization.
“I must take whatever steps are necessary to deliver a Super Bowl trophy to San Diego.
“Events of the last month have now convinced me that it is not possible for our organization to function at a championship level under the current structure.”