Thousands Attend Charger Coach's Memorial

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NFL
    San Diego Chargers coach Don Coryell stands on the sideline in 1983.

    Funeral services for Don Coryell began at 2 p.m. at San Diego State University.

    Coryell, one of the most innovative coaches in NFL history, died July 2 at Sharp Grossmont Hospital at the age of 85.

    The former head coach of the San Diego Chargers, Coryell became famous after his offensive package, known as Air Coryell, became one of the most vicious passing attacks in the NFL.

    NFL Stars Turn out for Charger Coach's Memorial

    [DGO] NFL Stars Turn out for Charger Coach's Memorial
    Among those in attendance for Don Coryell's memorial service were Dan Fouts, Joe Gibbs and John Madden.

    Attending the services on Monday at SDSU's Viejas Arena -- which was open to the public for the event -- were former Chargers QB and NFL announcer Dan Fouts, broadcasting icon and former NFL coach John Madden, Hall of Fame NFL coach Joe Gibbs and others.

    The invocation was delivered by former Charger Miles McPherson -- who is now a pastor at the Roch Church in Point Loma --  at the afternoon event, which was attended by about 3,000 people.

    An emotional Madden said  there was something missing because the late Coryell isn't in the Pro Football Hall of Fame while some of his notable players and former assistants are. Madden, choking up while speaking at the memorial service, said that he, Gibbs and Fouts (who also spoke at the service) are in the Hall of Fame because of Coryell.

    The memorial continued into the evening, with a private event being held at the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park.
     
    From 1961-72, Coryell was also the head coach at San Diego State, where he remained a fixture. He was the first coach to win 100 games in the NFL and at the college level.

    Coryell's Charger teams featured some of the most dynamic passing attacks in league history.

    "I didn't have any more fun than coaching against his teams, because I knew they were going to give you everything they had, I knew they were going to be innovative, and I knew they were going to score a lot of points because he was an offensive genius," said former Chargers Defensive Back Willie Buchanon.

    The Chargers were 72-60 under Coryell's leadership, winning three division titles and playing in four divisional playoff games and two AFC Championship games.

    Coryell was the AFC coach of Year in 1979 and was was inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame in 1994. Recently, during the team's 50 year anniversary year, he was selected by the team as one of the 50 Greatest Chargers of All-Time. Although he was also the first coach to win 100 games in college and pro football, he never led a team that played in the Super Bowl.