Norv Turner, A.J. Smith are coming back
January, 3, 2012
By Bill Williamson | ESPN.com
The San Diego Chargers just announced coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith are returning for the 2012 season.
Below is the team’s press release. I will have more on this major story later:
San Diego Chargers Chairman of the Board & President Dean Spanos today officially ended speculation and confirmed that General Manager A.J. Smith and Head Coach Norv Turner will return in 2012.
“Bottom line, I believe these two men give us the best chance to get back to the playoffs,” said Spanos. “A.J. Smith is the best man to improve our roster, and Norv Turner is the best man to lead that roster on the field.
“Together, we have stability and experience that’s hard to find in the NFL. They’ve both been in this league a long time. I don’t think there is anything they haven’t seen or experienced. They’ve led us through some difficult situations.
“As we’ve seen throughout Norv’s tenure and particularly this past season, the players believe in him, respect him and play hard for him. When we went through that tough stretch, no one quit. The team kept playing hard, and that’s a tribute to Norv’s leadership and the respect the players have for him.
“Now we will take a hard look at everything, from player evaluation to coaching to the rash of injuries we’ve suffered in recent years. Injuries have killed us. And no one is ever perfect in this business. Player evaluation isn’t an exact science. We need to improve across the board and I’m going to make sure we do.
“We all have our quirks and faults, but I want A.J. and Norv on my side. They are the right men to help us win a championship.”
During Smith’s nine-year tenure as general manager (2003-11), the Chargers have won 88 games and five AFC West titles. Only three teams (New England, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh) have won more games or division titles during that time. During the three seasons prior to Smith’s appointment, the Chargers struggled to a 13-35 record. Smith’s 91 overall wins in nine seasons rank second in team history among general managers, just one win behind Sid Gilman’s 92 wins in 11 seasons.
Since Turner took over as head coach, he has earned an impressive 52-34 overall record (including 3-3 in the postseason), the highest overall winning percentage in franchise history (.605). Other impressive numbers during Turner’s tenure include San Diego’s record in December/January under Turner (21-3), record after Nov. 1 (32-12), and record versus the AFC West (21-9). Only six teams have won more playoff games during that time and only five teams have made more postseason appearances.
“Despite the number of wins we’ve had, the net bottom line is it doesn’t mean anything unless you win a championship,” Spanos summarized. “That’s our goal and I am committed to winning a Super Bowl for San Diego.”