Tom Telesco, the vice president of football operations for the Indianapolis Colts, will take over GM duties for the 2013-2014 season.
Telesco, shown below in an NFL image, is replacing A.J. Smith, who was fired along with head coach Norv Turner earlier this month. He beat out inside man Jimmy Raye, the Charger's director of player personnel, for the position.
“We set out to find the right person to bring about positive change for the San Diego Chargers,” said Chargers President Dean Spanos. “It was a tough decision, but in the end, all signs pointed to Tom. He is highly respected among his NFL peers."
Spanos showered Telesco with praise during a press conference Wednesday afternoon, saying the new general manager has exactly what the Chargers need after a brutal past few seasons.
"His work ethic is extraordinary," he said. "He is honest, humble, engaging and an excellent communicator. And, most important, he knows how to build a winning football team."
Telesco is originally from Buffalo, New York and played wide receiver at John Carroll University in Ohio. He earned his degree in business management and immediately worked as scouting assistant with the Carolina Panthers.
Telesco’s youthful appearance did not go unnoticed during Wednesday's press conference. The team says that at 40, he is the youngest general manager in Chargers history, though his experience with the Colts runs deep. He spent the last 15 seasons with the Colts. Before serving as the VP of football operations, he was the director of player personnel, director of pro scouting, pro scout and area scout.
According to NFL, Telesco gained managerial experience working with the Colts general manager after the team parted ways with Peyton Manning. The Colts went on to have a 11-5 record despite losing a key player.
During the Chargers press conference, Telesco was very appreciative of the Colts, as he’d spent the majority of his career working in their office.
“My experience in Indianapolis was invaluable and I wouldn’t be here without them,” he said.
Telesco said he had a long, detailed interview with the Chargers. Though he had opportunities to interview elsewhere, he said working with the Chargers was the right fit.
“We’re really excited to be a part of this community,” he said. “I can’t wait to get to work here in San Diego.”
Spanos said with this change, and the selection of Telesco, he looks forward to positive change in the team’s future.
Telesco said he isn't sure how long it will be until the Chargers make the playoffs, but he's beginning his work now.
"Our goal is to create a culture and foundation for consistent winning," he said.
Over the next few weeks, Telesco will help Spanos pick a new coach to replace Turner.
“Our first order of business is to find a new coach, we’ve already started working on that," he said.
Telesco said he has a list of candidates that aligned similarly with that of the Chargers front office. Telesco said his main qualification for head coach include honest, humble, engaging and an excellent communicator.
“I can’t wait to get started,” he said. “[I'm] going to work myself and the staff to make the city extremely proud of this football team.”