Don Coryell
Don Coryell. Courtesy of San Diego State News Center

The late San Diego Chargers coach Don Coryell and two alumni of San Diego high schools, Terrell Davis and John Lynch, were among the 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Thursday.

The modern era finalists join the two senior finalists — the late Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler and the late Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins guard Dick Stanfel — and the contributor finalist, former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., as the 18 finalists under consideration for the Hall of Fame.

The finalists in their first year of eligibility are former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, former San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens, and Alan Faneca, a guard who played 10 of his 13 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The 46-member Selection Committee will meet Feb. 6 in San Francisco to elect the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016, with between four and eight of the finalists elected. A finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.

Coryell was also a finalist last year and in 2010. Lynch is a finalist for the third consecutive year and Davis is a finalist for the second consecutive year.

Coryell coached the Chargers from 1978-86, guiding them to a 69-56 record, including three AFC West Division championships.

“Don Coryell has earned his place in Canton,” former Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts said, referring to the Ohio site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“First and foremost, I would not be in the Hall of Fame had it not been for my nine years as Don’s quarterback with the Chargers.

“It was Coryell — with his revolutionary vision, his unique style of leadership and his successful implementation of the most innovative offense the NFL had ever witnessed — that led me and my teammates, Kellen Winslow and Charlie Joiner, to the steps of the Hall of Fame.

“I feel strongly that induction into the Hall of Fame should be based primarily on one’s contribution to this great game and continuing influence that is felt as the game is played today.

“All you have to do is review the careers of Hall of Fame coaches, such as John Madden, Bill Walsh and Joe Gibbs, and see who provided them with the inspiration and innovation that led to their own Hall of Fame careers.”

Coryell began his NFL career by coaching the then-St. Louis Cardinals to a 42-27-1 record from 1973-77, including NFC East Division championships in 1974 and 1975.

The late Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry, who coached the Cardinals’ NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys from 1960-88, once said that when Coryell “went to St. Louis, he was far ahead of everybody as far as what they did with the ball.”

Coryell coached San Diego State from 1961-72, guiding the Aztecs to NCAA College Division national championships in 1966, 1967 and 1968 and a 104-19-2 record. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

Coryell is the only coach to win 100 games in both college and the NFL. He died in 2010 at the age of 85.

Davis, a Lincoln High alumnus, was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and MVP of Super Bowl XXXII, when he rushed for 157 yards and three touchdowns in the Denver Broncos’ 31-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers at Qualcomm Stadium.

Davis rushed for a team-record 7,607 yards for the Broncos from 1995- 2001 after being chosen in the sixth round of the 1995 draft.

Lynch, a Torrey Pines High alumnus, was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection at safety when he played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1993-2003 and Denver Broncos from 2004-2007.

– City News Service

Show comments

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.