Chargers request first interview for head coach with surprising candidate

Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

The LA Chargers fired Brandon Staley the morning after the team lost in historic fashion to the Las Vegas Raiders. From that point on, the focus around the team shifted from the pointless end of the regular season to the upcoming head coaching search.

For the most part, the name that has dominated the coaching search the most is Michigan's Jim Harbaugh. All signs are pointing to Harbaugh making the leap back to the NFL and the Chargers might be the best job available because of Justin Herbert. For many fans, that would be a dream come true.

But the Chargers cannot bank on Harbaugh and Harbaugh alone. While Harbaugh was preparing his Michigan Wolverines for the National Championship against Washington, the first confirmed requested interviewee for the vacant Chargers head coaching job was announced — and it surprised many.

Steve Wilks becomes Chargers' first requested interviewee for head coach

After missing out on three first-time head coaches under Tom Telesco the Chargers may be looking at head coaching options with more experience. Steve Wilks fits that bill as he has been in the league since 2006 and has held both a head coaching job and interim head coaching job.

Like Harbaugh, Wilks has previous ties to the Chargers organization as well. Wilks served as the defensive backs coach on the Chargers from 2009 through 2011, coaching the likes of Quentin Jammer, Antonio Cromartie and Antoine Cason.

Chargers fans who look at Wilks' head coaching experience may shudder. Wilks lasted just one season as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals after posting a 3-13 record in 2018. To be fair to Wilks, he was saddled with Josh Rosen and Mike Glennon as his quarterbacks that season.

Wilks' next head coaching opportunity came in 2022 when he took over the Carolina Panthers as the interim head coach when Matt Rhule was fired. This is the job where Wilks really impressed, putting together a 6-6 record with a Panthers team that had no business going .500 in the final 12 games. But because David Tepper is the owner of the Panthers, Wilks was not retained and he spent last season as the 49ers' defensive coordinator.

Wilks is definitely not the most exciting candidate for the Chargers' head coaching job but it is important to cast a wide net. This job hunt was never going to be just Harbaugh and that is it. Wilks is not going to be the only surprising name that emerges as an interviewee, so Chargers fans should prepare to buckle up.

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