Chargers fire Marty Schottenheimer

In a strange twist of events, the San Diego Chargers fired head coach Marty Schottenheimer on Monday.

After guiding the Bolts to a 14-2 record during the regular season and bowing out in the first round of the playoffs, the Chargers were steadfast in their support for the head coach.

Marty Schottenheimer was offered a one-year extension that came with a club-option $1 million buyout and turned the offer down, becoming a lame-duck coach.

As first reported by in an Exclusive story found here, A.J. Smith was extremely vocal about not being happy with how Schottenheimer turned down the club's offer. He explained in no uncertain terms that he had no love for his head coach and felt the team would be in a hole finding coordinators who would like to come aboard. It turns out he was more right than he knew.

The Chargers already lost offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, linebackers coach Greg Manusky and tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski. While other teams are filling vacancies, the Chargers search begins now.

Chargers President Dean Spanos issued the following statement:

Today I made an extremely difficult decision: Marty Schottenheimer is no longer the head coach of the San Diego Chargers.

This decision was so hard because Marty has been both a friend and valued coach of our team. 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. On the contrary, and in the plainest possible language, we have a dysfunctional situation here. Today I am resolving that situation once and for all.

My decision means that our organization will be obligated to pay the last year of Marty Schottenheimer's contract and will begin an intense search for a new head coach at this relatively late date, but these are sacrifices that I believe are necessary to give the Chargers the best possible chance to win on the field this season.

Our fans deserve to know what changed for me over the last month. 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. 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. I expect exactly that from our entire Charger organization in 2007.

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