Schottenheimer hired as Chargers' coach

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

SAN DIEGO -- The Chargers hired former division rival Marty Schottenheimer as coach on Tuesday, hoping he can end their six-year playoff drought, second-longest in the NFL.

Schottenheimer becomes the fourth head coach in six seasons for the Chargers, who've been awful in the NFL's age of parity. They won just six games the last two seasons and are 23-57 since Bobby Ross, the only coach to get them to the Super Bowl, was forced out after the 1996 season.

Schottenheimer was to be introduced at a late afternoon news conference.

Schottenheimer will make about $10 million the next four seasons, some of which will be paid by the Washington Redskins, who fired him on Jan. 13 after one season.

The Chargers have been courting Schottenheimer for nearly two weeks to replace Mike Riley, who was fired Dec. 31 after San Diego lost nine straight games to finish 5-11. Riley was 14-34 in three seasons.

Schottenheimer is 153-93-1 in 16 NFL seasons, including 104-65-1 from 1989-98 with the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs. His Chiefs and Cleveland Browns teams reached the playoffs 11 times, although his postseason record is 5-11.

The Chargers have made the playoffs just three times in the 18 seasons they've been owned by Alex Spanos, all coming under Ross.

Steelers fire special teams coach

PITTSBURGH -- Jay Hayes was fired Tuesday as the Pittsburgh Steelers' special teams coach following a season-long series of breakdowns capped by two touchdown-producing misplays in the AFC championship game.

Hayes was the only assistant let go following the Steelers' third AFC title game loss in eight seasons, though coach Bill Cowher gave offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and quarterbacks coach Tom Clements permission to talk to other teams.

Mularkey, voted the NFL assistant coach of the year by the Pro Football Writers, will interview for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coaching vacancy.

Clements, the quarterbacks coach who worked with Mularkey to revive Kordell Stewart's career, will interview for offensive coordinators' jobs with Buffalo and Jacksonville.

Cowher also said defensive coordinator Tim Lewis, whose defense ranked first in the league, and defensive backs coach Willy Robinson have agreed to new contracts.

Faulk chosen TSN's top NFL player

Rams running back Marshall Faulk picked up another award Tuesday when he was named NFL player of the year by The Sporting News.

The award and other postseason honors are outlined in the St. Louis-based publication's Feb. 4 issue, which goes on sale Wednesday.

Faulk, earlier named MVP by the Professional Football Writers Association and Pro Football Weekly and the AP's offensive player of the year for the third straight year, received 11 of 23 votes cast by NFL coaches.

Faulk's teammate, quarterback Kurt Warner, and Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre received four votes each. Rich Gannon, Jeff Garcia, Kordell Stewart and Brian Urlacher recieved single votes.

Jaguarshire Pease at coordinator

John Pease was promoted from defensive line coach to defensive coordinator by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday.

Pease has been on Tom Coughlin's staff in Jacksonville all seven seasons. He takes over for Gary Moeller, who left after one tumultuous year during which players openly questioned his plans.

-- From wire services

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