The accolades came pouring in for Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer after he led the Chargers to one of the greatest turnarounds in NFL history last season. Schottenheimer took a ball club that finished last in the AFC West (4-12) in 2003 and turned it into an AFC West Champion (12-4) in 2004. It was the franchise's first division title since 1994 and the Chargers became the 22nd team in NFL history to go from worst-to-first since 1967.
When the dust settled, Schottenheimer had been named the NFL Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, Pro Football Weekly and the Professional Football Writers of America, SportsIllustrated.com, American Football Monthly, The Dallas Morning News, CBS SportsLine.com and the NFL Alumni Association. He also was chosen as the Professional Coach of the Year by the Maxwell Football Club and the AFC Coach of the Year by the NFL 101 Committee in Kansas City.
The Chargers won with a balanced offense and a solid defense. The Bolts rushed for 2,185 yards and passed for 3,506. The team's quarterbacks were efficient with the football, throwing 29 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. In January 2004, Schottenheimer hired Wade Phillips as the team's new defensive coordinator. Phillips implemented his trademark 3-4 defense and the Bolts finished the season ranked third in the NFL against the run. Their +15 turnover ratio tied for the second-best in team history and was third-best in the NFL.
The Chargers' playoff run marked the 12th time during Schottenheimer's illustrious career that he had taken his team to the postseason. It tied for third-most playoff appearances in NFL history with Hall of Fame coaches Bud Grant and Chuck Noll.
At the same time, Schottenheimer became the fifth NFL head coach to lead three different teams to the playoffs (Chargers, Chiefs and Browns). He joined a fraternity that included Bill Parcells (Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys), Dick Vermeil (Eagles, Rams and Chiefs) Chuck Knox (Rams, Bills and Seahawks) and Dan Reeves (Broncos, Giants and Falcons).
Schottenheimer moves into the 2005 season with 177 career wins in the regular season. He has the most wins among active head coaches in the NFL today.
His career win total (177) places him eighth on the NFL's all-time list. He trails Don Shula (328), George Halas (318), Tom Landry (250), Curly Lambeau (226), Noll (193), Reeves (190) and Knox (186).
Including the playoffs, Schottenheimer has a combined record of 182-129-1 (.585) as an NFL head coach.
Guiding the Bolts to 12 wins in 2004, marked the 13th time that Schottenheimer has coached his team to a winning record. The Chargers 12 wins matched the second-highest single-season win total of his career (Cleveland, 1986). His teams in Kansas City won 13 games in 1995 and '97. Since 1984, Schottenheimer has had only two losing seasons.
Schottenheimer became the 13th head coach in Chargers history on Jan. 29, 2002. He landed his first job as a head coach with Cleveland in 1984 and remained with the Browns through the 1988 season. From there, he spent the 1989-1998 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and the 2001 season with the Washington Redskins. From 1999-2000, Schottenheimer worked as an analyst for ESPN.
Schottenheimer's head coaching career began on Oct. 22, 1984 when the Browns named him head coach to replace Sam Rutigliano after a 1-7 start. Schottenheimer had been the team's defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach under Rutigliano. The results were immediate as Schottenheimer led the Browns to a 4-4 record in the second half of the '84 season.
Over the next four seasons (1985-88), Schottenheimer would lead the Browns to the playoffs four times. They captured three AFC Central Division titles and played in two AFC Championship Games (1986-87). Both times, the Browns were defeated in the AFC Championship Game by Denver.
Schottenheimer resigned following the 1988 season. He finished his career in Cleveland with a record of 46-31 (.597), including playoffs.
On Jan. 24, 1989, Schottenheimer was named head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, becoming the seventh head coach in Chiefs history.
From 1989-1998, Schottenheimer's teams would average 10 wins a season and qualify for the playoffs seven times.
The Chiefs were dominant at home under Schottenheimer, where their 62-18 (.775) record from 1989-1998 was the third-best in the NFL behind San Francisco's 67-13 (.838) and Denver's 63-17 (.788). The Chiefs and 49ers were the only teams in the NFL to reach the playoffs seven times in the '90s. From 1989-1997, the Chiefs finished either first or second in the AFC West, a nine-year stretch matched only by the Pittsburgh Steelers (1971-79) since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
Schottenheimer had a strong hold on the AFC West during his 10 seasons as the head coach in Kansas City, as evidenced by his 55-28 (.663) record within the division. His success included an outstanding mark of 18-3 (.857) against the Chargers' biggest rival, the Oakland Raiders.
His Kansas City teams were known for their aggressive defense. From 1989-1998, the Chiefs had an NFL-best +99 turnover ratio and led the league in turnover ratio during the 1990, '92 and '95 seasons. The Chiefs ranked in the NFL's top-five in this category seven out of 10 seasons and they set an NFL record by recording a +10 turnover ratio in six consecutive seasons from 1990-95.
In 1990, he coached the Chiefs to a record of 11-5 and into the playoffs. It was their most wins in a season since 1969 and their first playoff berth since 1986.
In 1993, he led the Chiefs to another 11-5 mark and the franchise's first-ever appearance in the AFC Championship Game.
In 1995 and '97 he led the Chiefs to AFC-best records of 13-3, but both times they lost in the Divisional Playoff round.
On Jan. 11, 1999, Schottenheimer retired from coaching, leaving Kansas City with a record of 101-58-1 (.634).
He spent the next two years (1999-2000) with ESPN before re-joining the coaching ranks in 2001 when he was named head coach of the Washington Redskins. He spent just one season in Washington as the Redskins finished 8-8.
Schottenheimer's athletic career began at Ft. Cherry High School in McDonald, Pennsylvania, where he was an honors student and a standout on the football and basketball teams. He was an All-Western Pennsylvania linebacker and a center on the school's state championship basketball team.
Schottenheimer earned a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh and became an All-America linebacker. In 1965, he was selected to play in the College All-Star Game at Chicago's Soldier Field. The All-Stars lost to the Cleveland Browns, 24-16. In the game, Schottenheimer played alongside future NFL greats Dick Butkus, Fred Biletnikoff, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes and Bill Curry. Schottenheimer was later named to the University's All-Time Team.
After earning his degree in English from Pittsburgh, Schottenheimer was selected in the fourth round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts and the seventh round of the 1965 AFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He signed with the Bills and played in Buffalo from 1965-68. During his rookie season in 1965, the Bills defeated the Chargers, 23-0, to win the AFL Championship.
In 1969, he joined the Boston Patriots and played in Boston for two seasons. In 1971, the Patriots traded Schottenheimer to the Pittsburgh Steelers. After training camp had ended in '71, the Steelers dealt the young linebacker to the Colts and he decided to retire shortly thereafter.
For the next four years (1971-74), Schottenheimer sold real estate in Miami and Denver.
In 1974, he returned to football, signing with the Portland Storm of the World Football League. A shoulder injury ended his playing career, but he remained with the team as an assistant coach, working with the team's linebackers.
In 1975, he landed his first NFL coaching job as the linebackers coach for the New York Giants. He held that position for two seasons until he was named defensive coordinator in 1977.
In 1978, Schottenheimer was hired as the linebackers coach for the Detroit Lions. In 1980, he was hired by the Browns as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach.
Schottenheimer was born Sept. 23, 1943 in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, He and his wife, Pat, have two children, Kristen and Brian, and two grandsons, Brandon and Sutton. Brian is a former University of Florida quarterback who was on his father's coaching staffs with the Chiefs (1998) and Redskins (2001). He is currently the Chargers quarterbacks coach. Marty's brother, Kurt, was on his staffs in Cleveland (1986-88), Kansas City (1989-1998) and Washington (2001).
Schottenheimer is a licensed pilot. In the past, he has flown with the Navy's Blue Angels and the Air Force's Thunderbirds.
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