Head Coach, San Diego Chargers
If the 2013 NFL season proved one thing, it’s that the San Diego Chargers are in good hands with Mike McCoy at the helm as head coach.
Hired Jan. 15, 2013 as the 15th head coach in team history, McCoy led the Chargers to the playoffs in his first season. At the time of his hiring, McCoy, then 41, was the second-youngest head coach in the NFL and the second-youngest in team history. The Bolts went 9-7 under McCoy and won four straight and five of their last six to close out the regular season, including a thrilling season-ending overtime win against Kansas City that vaulted the Chargers into the postseason. During that stretch, the Chargers defeated Kansas City twice, and Denver and Oakland once each to finish 4-2 in the AFC West. McCoy then led the Chargers to a Wild Card Playoff win in Cincinnati for the franchise’s first playoff victory since the 2008 season. The Chargers playoff appearance in 2013 marked the organization’s first since 2009 and McCoy joined Sid Gillman (1960), Don Coryell (1979 – Coryell’s first full season), Bobby Ross (1992) and Norv Turner (2007) as the only coaches in team history to lead the Bolts to the playoffs in their first season. Then with his team’s win over the Bengals, McCoy became only the third head coach (Ross and Turner) to win his first playoff game.
Even in defeat, McCoy had the Chargers in position to win. Of the team’s eight losses in 2013, including playoffs, seven were decided by eight points or less and the team’s largest margin of defeat was a 10-point loss in Week 5.
McCoy came to the Chargers from Denver, where he spent the 2009-12 seasons as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator. In 2012, he helped the Broncos to their second-highest win total in franchise history (13) and the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC playoffs. The Broncos won 11 consecutive games to end the regular season, the second-longest streak in team history, and became only the seventh Super Bowl-era team to win their final 11 contests.
With McCoy at the helm of the Broncos’ offense, Peyton Manning threw a then-team-record 37 touchdown passes, while posting the then-second-best season of his career in yards (4,659) and completion percentage (68.6%). The Broncos ranked fourth in the NFL in total offense and their passing game featured a pair of standout wide receivers, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, who combined to become the youngest receiving duo in NFL history to each top 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. Thomas led the way with 1,434 yards and 10 scores on 94 catches, while Decker scored 13 times while hauling in 85 passes for 1,064 yards.
A year earlier in 2011, McCoy had a hand in a storybook season in Denver as he helped the Broncos reach the divisional playoffs after winning their first AFC West title since 2005. The Broncos upset Pittsburgh in the Wild Card Playoffs at Sports Authority Field, with Tim Tebow throwing an 80-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Thomas on the first play of overtime. The success of the season was particularly satisfying for McCoy, who completely revamped Denver’s offense into a read-option attack that meshed with Tebow’s playing style. The Broncos went on to lead the NFL with a franchise-record 2,632 yards on the ground.
A couple of other Broncos’ players who starred while playing under McCoy included wide receiver Brandon Lloyd and running back Willis McGahee. Lloyd led the NFL in receiving yards (1,448) in 2010 and earned his first Pro Bowl selection, while also becoming just the fourth wide receiver in team history to receive Associated Press All-Pro honors. McGahee, meanwhile, rushed for 1,199 yards in 2011 to earn his second-career Pro Bowl selection.
McCoy came to Denver after the 2008 season, becoming Denver’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In 2009, Kyle Orton set career highs in every major passing category, while wide receiver Brandon Marshall and left tackle Ryan Clady earned Pro Bowl honors. Marshall caught 101 passes in 2009, tied for third in the NFL, and he set an NFL record with 21 catches in a game against Indianapolis, while Clady added first-team Associated Press All-Pro honors to his Pro Bowl selection. Meanwhile, running back Knowshon Moreno also shined under McCoy, earning all-rookie honors after leading the NFL’s rookies in rushing yards, total yards from scrimmage and total touchdowns.
A native of Novato, Calif., McCoy played quarterback at Long Beach State and the University of Utah before signing with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 1995. Cut by Denver, McCoy spent his rookie season on Green Bay’s practice squad, followed by stops with NFL Europe’s Amsterdam Admirals, the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks. He concluded his playing career with the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders, a Grey Cup finalist, in 1999 and he transitioned into coaching a year later, joining the Carolina Panthers in 2000 as an offensive assistant.
Just four weeks into his first season with the Panthers, McCoy was elevated to quarterbacks coach when the team’s position coach stepped down. Undeterred, McCoy stepped in and helped Steve Beuerlein pass for 3,730 yards, seventh-most in the NFL that season. McCoy would go on to spend nine seasons in Carolina, serving as wide receivers coach (2001), quarterbacks coach (2002-08) and passing game coordinator (2007-08). The Panthers totaled three playoff appearances, two division titles, two NFC Championship Game appearances and a berth in Super Bowl XXXVIII (2003) during McCoy’s tenure on the staff.
After working with Beuerlein, McCoy’s main student in Carolina became Jake Delhomme, who passed for more than 3,000 yards four times under McCoy’s watch. Delhomme enjoyed his best season with the Panthers in 2004, registering personal bests in passing yards (3,886) and touchdown passes (29), totals that both ranked second in Panthers history. A year later in 2005, Delhomme had a Pro Bowl season as he led the Panthers to an 11-5 record and a berth in the NFC Championship Game. McCoy saved some of his best coaching for the 2007 season in Carolina when the Panthers won a franchise-best 12 games in the regular season and earned a first-round bye in the playoffs. Injuries forced the Panthers to start four different quarterbacks (none for more than three games in a row) during the season and Carolina became the first NFL team in 10 years to win at least one game with four different starters at quarterback (Delhomme, David Carr, Matt Moore and Vinny Testaverde).
McCoy and his wife, Kellie, have two children, a daughter, Liv, and a son, Luke.