We Could All Be so Lucky

Sid Gillman, the San Diego Chargers first Coach in team history, died Thursday morning at his home in Los Angeles. He was 91. Chargers Update offers our warmest thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. He will be missed.

Gillman was 87-57-6 as head coach of the Chargers from 1960-69 and '71. Gillman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983, after compiling a 123-104-7 record in 18 seasons as a head coach with the Los Angeles Rams, Chargers and Houston Oilers. Gillman became the first head coach in team history on January 7, 1960 back in the days of the AFL which was competing with the NFL.

His 87-57-6 (.600) record is the best in franchise history. The highlight of Gillman's tenure with the Chargers came when the team captured it's only league championship with a 51-10 win over the Boston Patriots in the AFL Championship game on January 5, 1963 in San Diego's Balboa Stadium.

He won five division crowns in the AFL's first six years. Then he went on to become the first coach to win divisional titles in both the AFL and NFL.

On Gillman's first staff were Oakland Raiders managing general partner Al Davis; four time Super Bowl Championship Coach Chuck Noll; Jack Faulkner, a future Rams executive; Don Klosterman, who would become general manager of the Oilers and Baltimore Colts; and Joe Madro, a longtime Gillman associate. The staff is considered one of finest assembled by any pro team in any league.

"Sid Gillman brought class to the AFL," Davis once said. "Being part of Sid's organization was like going to a laboratory for the highly developed science of professional football."

The Chargers came to San Diego for their second season in 1961 from Los Angeles.The city agreed to expand Balboa Stadium from 18,000 to 33,000 seats by adding a second tier and since that time the Chargers have built a solid identity.

Gillman is survived by his wife Esther; three married daughters, Lyle, Bobbie and Terry; one son, Tom; and six grandchildren.

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