New coach Jim Harbaugh wants Chargers ‘humble and hungry’

New coach Jim Harbaugh wants Chargers ‘humble and hungry’


INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Jim Harbaugh was noncommittal Thursday about retaining the Los Angeles Chargers‘ coaches while setting championship expectations for an organization that has never won a Super Bowl.

“It needs to be multiple, multiple championships,” Harbaugh said in his first news conference as Chargers head coach. “We’re going to be humble. Humble and hungry. But that’s our goal. Our goal is to treat people in a first-class manner and to win multiple championships.”

Harbaugh mentioned 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 chose Harbaugh after interviewing 15 candidates, bringing him back to the franchise where he played quarterback for two seasons in 1999 and 2000.

The Chargers, who have made only one Super Bowl appearance in franchise history (1995), have a steep climb in becoming a contender.

They finished 5-12 last season and are projected to be $54 million above the salary cap next season, according to ESPN’s Roster Management System. That means Harbaugh may not have some of the team’s best and highest-paid players.

Harbaugh said those decisions are on the agenda, as are the NFL combine and free agency. He plans to quickly catapult the Chargers back into NFL relevancy by instilling the culture he has elsewhere.

“A tough team, a resilient team, a relentless team, a physical team, is what we’re going to aspire to be,” Harbaugh said. “Don’t let the powder blues fool you.”

After hiring Harbaugh, 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 in limbo 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 according to a source, he was told that they hope to have him back. But Harbaugh didn’t say whether Ficken or defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley would return, telling reporters that he was “working through” that process.

“That’s priority No. 1 right now,” Harbaugh said. “… We want an all-star staff that’s worthy of coaching our players.”

The lone coaching announcement made Thursday was that Michigan strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert would be joining the Chargers.

Harbaugh’s son, Jay, the special teams coordinator at Michigan, and Jesse Minter, the defensive coordinator, have been linked to the Chargers. Still, Harbaugh again reverted to the point that he was “working through” building his staff when asked about Minter and his son. He also declined to give a timeline on how long that would take.

“I want to talk to as many people as I can,” Harbaugh said, “before we make the final hires.”


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