Coach Norv Turner and General Manager A.J. Smith were fired by the San Diego Chargers today following the National Football League team’s first losing season since 2003.
Turner led the Chargers to the American Football Conference championship game after the 2007 season, his first with the team, and reached the playoffs following the 2008 and 2009 campaigns. He was 3-3 with San Diego in the postseason, tying Don Coryell and Bobby Ross for most playoff wins in franchise history.
Smith joined the Chargers as assistant general manager in 2001 and took over the GM’s job two years later when John Butler died.
“Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom line is winning,” team President Dean Spanos said in a statement. “My only goal is the Super Bowl, and that is why I have decided to move in a new direction with both our head coach and general manager positions.”
The Chargers finished the season 7-9, with a 24-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders yesterday.
The 60-year-old Turner had a 56-40 regular-season record since replacing Marty Schottenheimer, following two seasons with the Oakland Raiders and seven with the Washington Redskins. He has a 114-122-1 record as an NFL coach.
The Chargers went 3-3 to open the season, including wins against the Raiders, Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, before losing five of their next six games.
A Dec. 16 loss to the Carolina Panthers ensured the team’s first losing record since the 2003 squad finished 4-12.
Later that week, Turner indicated in an interview with New York reporters that he might accept a job as offensive coordinator, a post he held with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990s when they won two Super Bowl titles.
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