ENGLEWOOD, Calif. — Los Angeles Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh on Thursday made no promises about keeping the coaches while setting championship expectations for an organization that has yet to win a Super Bowl.
“It should be many, many championships,” Harbaugh said in his first news conference as Chargers head coach. “We're going to be humble. We're going to be humble and hungry. But that's our goal. Our goal is to treat people first-class and win more championships.”
Harbaugh noted that in one of his first meetings with the Chargers, owner Dean Spanos said he was “starving” to win.
That resonated deeply with Harbaugh.
Spanos selected Harbaugh after interviewing 15 candidates, bringing him back to the franchise, where he played quarterback for two seasons in 1999 and 2000.
With only one Super Bowl appearance in franchise history (1995), the Chargers have a steep climb to becoming a contender.
According to ESPN's Roster Management System, they went 5-12 last season and are expected to be $54 million over the salary cap next season. That means Harbaugh may be without some of the team's best and highest-paid players.
Harbaugh said decisions like the NFL combine and free agency are on the agenda. He plans to quickly transition the Chargers back to NFL relevance by instilling the culture elsewhere.
“A tough team, a resilient team, a relentless team, a physical team, that's what we want to be,” Harbaugh said. “Don't let the powder blues fool you.”
After Harbaugh was hired, the Chargers allowed offensive coordinator Kellen Moore to interview with other teams, and he was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles. Many of the Chargers' other assistants are confused as Harbaugh builds the rest of his staff.
The Chargers blocked special teams coordinator Ryan Ficken from interviewing with the New York Giants for the same position last month, and he was told they hoped to get him back, according to a source. But Harbaugh did not say whether Ficken or defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley would return, telling reporters he was “trying” the process.
“That's priority No. 1 right now,” Harbaugh said. “… We want an all-star staff that is qualified to coach our players.”
Michigan strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert will join the Chargers, according to a separate coaching announcement made Thursday.
Harbaugh's son, Jay, a special teams coordinator at Michigan, and defensive coordinator Jesse Minter have been linked to the Chargers. However, when asked about Minter and his son, Harbaugh reverted to saying he's “working” to build his staff. He also declined to give a timeline on how long that would take.
“I want to talk to as many people as I can before we make the final move,” Harbaugh said.