SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Earlier this week News 8's Carlo Cecchetto had the pleasure of sitting down for an interview with the Chargers hierarchy: owner Dean Spanos and his new General Manager Tom Telesco and new coach Mike McCoy.
You could sense Dean Spanos' excitement over his team's bold new direction. So I asked him: What makes him think he's hired the right guys to bring a super bowl trophy to San Diego?
Spanos: First of all almost half my age so that was the best part of this. Okay, you know there's a new energy with these guys right here and I say age.. They're both the same age or close to it, anyways, but.. You know it's the beginning of a new era here in San Diego for us and I think they bring that whole vibrance that whole electricity.. Uh, that we need here right now.. it's , it's uh.. It's a new era.
Cecchetto: Why, for you..was this the choice.. Why are you excited about the Chargers and how did you end up here?
Telesco: You know.. I had a great job in Indianapolis.. I loved it there, I really wasn't looking to move, actively.. But when I came down and sat down with Dean and John and Ed.. You know, somehow.. You just feel .. It just feels right. And the more I talked with them.. They just had the same goals, same philosophies.. Very comfortable people to talk to and it just had a great feeling probably within the first 15-20 minutes..people I wanna work with.
Cecchetto: You did have a list of potential head coaches and at the very top was this man. Can you tell us why and how that worked out?
Telesco: Part of the whole process when you go on an interview.. You have to have your list of people you'd like to hire, so I knew a couple of years ago when this may be a chance.. Uh, I wanted to have a list of people, so I started scouting coaches like I was scouting players. So, I kinda had watched Mike's career from the beginning up through Denver, talked to a lot of people he had worked with, did my research, wanted to make sure I had a good list going in. Like I said.. The fit was there.
Spanos: When mike was here for his first trip.. I didn't want him to go home.
McCoy: I had to go home and talk to my wife.. Talk to the boss a little bit.
Carlo: Got permission to make the move?
Telesco: It's such a competitive business that we just felt from the back ground we'd done on Mike and the way he interviewed.. If he leaves the building we might not get him back because there were three or four teams looking for head coaches too.. y'know .. It's a competitive business.. When you see what you need.. You just go get it.
Cecchetto: Why did you make that choice so quickly and why are you with the chargers?
McCoy: Well.. I certainly believe this is a people business.. And you gotta surround yourself with great people. Not only good football coaches..but as an organization.. Very similar to what Tom said.. The first couple of minutes sitting down in the interview process.. I just felt like it was a great fit an easy flow through the conversation y'know.. Sitting down, talking about our goals where we need to head from here as an organization... What do they believe? Where are we right now? What do we need to do to improve? And sitting down and talking to Dean and Tom and everybody else that was there.. We were all on the same page from the very beginning.
McCoy: Well.. It's really a gut feeling.. You come into the interviews.. You sit down with a number of different people they have.. Ask you some tough questions.. But.. Talking to Dean.. One of the first things we talked about was family.. And how they run the business here.. What they do .. How we're going to do things in day to day operations here.. The comfort of coming into the building and that was big for me.. That was one of the big things I talked to.. with players, coaches everyone in the organization.. How important family is to me and just the way we're going to run the business day to day.
Spanos: Family values are so important it's hard to describe.. But that's the first thing Mike talked about and it struck me.. Because that's something that was so important to my father and I remember growing up, your family is the most important part of your life and then, everything else revolves around that. And I got that from both these guys.
Cecchetto: what is the first thing you need to do to improve?
McCoy: Well.. The great thing is the last two weeks we put a staff together and that was the number one thing we had to do.(out here if you can) that was our short term goal. Not only good coaches.. But good people you want to be around every day because we're gonna spend a lot of time in the office together. Now, this next week we're gonna sit down and evaluate the roster.
Cecchetto: Phillip Rivers has had a rough couple of years.. When you look at him, what's it going to take to turn him around?
McCoy: Well.. Number one.. We're gonna build a new system here.. Obviously he's been in this system for a some years since he's been here and we're starting over from scratch. As a staff, we're gonna put the best system together so that by the time we kick off the season next year.. He's gonna have some input on that. Ken Whisenhunt and the rest of the staff.. They've got a great idea of what we want to do.
Cecchetto: Tom.. You're more from the personnel side, of course. Do you see areas where you know you're going to have to target immediately?
Telesco: Well, generally.. The good thing is, if you look on defense, we have some young, core talent on defense and some guys that are flexible and can go in some different ways, so that's important. Y'know, offensively y'know, we need to add a little bit of youth. Need some explosive play makers on both sides of the ball,generally what we're looking for right now. But you know.. Part of this process is too is knowing what we have and developing what we have.. We have some players here that can play.
Cecchetto: Dean, it's only been a couple of weeks, you're just getting familiar with these guys.. Can you talk about the energy these to have brought both into the building and to the fan base.. What kind of reaction you're getting?
Spanos: Well.. It's just been overwhelmingly positive from fans, obviously.. and , uh they were obviously looking for change.. I think change is good. But, again.. The energy that they're bringing.. The youth, if you will. y'know, they are pretty young.. But mature at the same point. One of their common things that we talked about was building this team for the future and not just trying to build it to get back into the playoffs next year and start grab bagging different types of players in free agency.. All that.. We want to establish a foundation here.. A good solid foundation for the future.. Through the draft and get back in the playoffs every year.
Telesco: The job's a partnership between the GM and head coach and you're with him, you know.. Every day going over different things, always communicating but it's a partnership through and through working with each other we'll get to know each other more through the process..but I know we were brought up from good teachers. And you put people together who have learned the right way and they'll mesh. It will work.
Cecchetto: How are you guys getting along? Are you guys having a good time doing this?
Telesco: We haven't gotten into a fight yet that's a good step
McCoy: No, we haven't.. Yeah.. We're having a good time, we're going to have a good time doing it. Like we said earlier.. We're in this together.. It's a partnership.. We're going to make decisions.. We're going to have some tough decisions to make but once we make those decisions.. They're the organization's decisions.. And we're not gonna... We'll have our battles.. But that's all part of it.
Spanos: I think one of the things that's most important to me for them to know is that.. And I've told them this.. We're 100 percent committed.. I'm 100 percent committed to do whatever we can to give them the ability to go out and get the best players.. Best coaches.. Best staff.. Whatever it is and whatever it's going to take to get us to a Super Bowl.
Cecchetto: this team hasn't been to the playoffs in 3 years.. How far away is this team from a Super Bowl, possibly?
McCoy: Well, we have a plan.. And so we're going to take it one day at a time. Tom and I are gonna make decisions every day like we talked about.. How does this help us win?
Telesco: I mean, right now..we want to win the opener. That's the big goal right now and we'll take it from there.
Spanos: You've heard this said before.. You have to be lucky, good, and injury free and if you're not all three of those it's pretty tough to win. If you had something to tell fans what this team is going to be next year.. You know.. What they're going to be rooting for.. Why should they root for it.. What would that be?
McCoy: I think number one, we're going to have a tough, smart , physical football team that wants to play their best football under pressure. When the game's on the line that's when we're gonna be our best. And I think you're going to have a team that's going to play extremely hard week in week out..
Telesco: I don't know what to add to that.. That's it in a nutshell, right there. but it's going to be a passionate group of players and that's what we're gonna look for. We want players.. Everyone we hire in the organization.. Whether you're a player or a front office.. Coach.. Want people who care about winning. I'm excited, I wish we could get started right now, but we have a long process before we get there.. but it's going to be exciting.
Spanos: Don't miss any games this year.. they're all going to be great. I have a lot of confidence in these guys.