Mount Rushmore of LA Chargers head coaches: 1. Don Coryell
Don Coryell does not have as many wins or as good of a winning percentage as Gillman but I still give him the nod as the best coach in Chargers history. Coryell ranks second in total games coached, second in wins but only sixth in winning percentage.
However, there are plenty of reasons for Coryell being the best coach in franchise history. First of all is the fan test. Ask any long-time Charger fan who the best head coach in team history is, or simply to name one head coach in Chargers history, and most fans would answer Coryell.
That is because he revolutionized the game of football, which ultimately makes him the number one coach on this list. Not only was he a solid coach for the Chargers, but he had a lasting impact on the game that is still being felt today.
Coryell was the first coach to really introduce the air-raid offense into the NFL, dubbed the “Air Coryell” offense. Alongside Dan Fouts, the Chargers were doing things that no other team in the league was doing.
This has had a lasting impact on a league that is now pass-dominant. While it eventually would have skewed to the passing game, Coryell’s innovation helped speed it along.
Coryell’s record is not great as he often fielded some of the worst defenses in franchise history. However, he did make the playoffs in four straight years from 1979 to 1982. Up until the mid-to-late 2000s, that was the best consistent stretch in team history in the NFL.
Coryell or Gillman — you cannot really go wrong with either coach. Both are all-time greats.