NFL: San Diego Chargers axe head coach Norv Turner and general manager AJ Smith
Last Updated: 31/12/12 8:53pm
Norv Turner: paid price for 7-9 season in San Diego
San Diego Chargers have fired head coach Norv Turner and general manager AJ Smith a day after missing out on the play-offs for the third year in a row.
The Chargers finished with a 7-9 record for second place in the AFC West behind the 13-3 Denver Broncos.
Turner, in his third incarnation as an NFL head coach after stints in Washington and Oakland, went 56-40 during his six seasons in San Diego.
He inherited a 14-2 team and guided them to three AFC West titles in a row, losing to New England Patriots in the AFC title game in his first season.
But the Chargers were only 24-24 over the last two seasons, enough for team president Dean Spanos to make sweeping changes.
"Both Norv and AJ are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom-line is winning," said Spanos in a statement.
"My only goal is the Super Bowl, and that is why I have decided to move in a new direction with both our head coach and general manager positions. I am committed to our great fans, and we will do whatever we possibly can to achieve that goal."
Smith had been general manager since 2003 and Turner was his signature hire, one he made after winning a power struggle with previous head coach Marty Schottenheimer.
He had an authoritarian reputation and often clashed with players, agents and the media but is, perhaps, best known for taking Eli Manning with the number one pick of the 2004 draft and then dealing Manning's rights to New York Giants for Philip Rivers and draft picks that were used to take Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding.