McCoy to return to Chargers despite 4-12 finish

SAN DIEGO (AP) Mike McCoy will return as coach of the Chargers despite a 4-12 record this season.

The next big question is whether he'll be coaching them in San Diego or Los Angeles.

''I'm very thankful for the opportunity to be back,'' McCoy said Monday, a day after the Chargers lost at Denver to go winless in the AFC West for the first time since 1984, the year Alex Spanos bought the team.

Alex Spanos' son, Dean, the team's chairman, said late Monday that the team had applied for relocation to Carson in suburban Los Angeles, citing a lack of public support ''to help subsidize a stadium.'' The Chargers want to partner with the Raiders on a stadium in Carson while the St. Louis Rams are also seeking approval for a move to nearby Inglewood. NFL owners could decide next week whether any of the teams move before next season.

Asked if he's the right guy to lead the Chargers into the nation's second-biggest market, McCoy said: ''Without a doubt. I can't wait for the opportunity. We're all ready to roll.''

Then, he added: ''I'm ready to be the coach wherever it is. I'm excited just to be the head football coach of the Chargers. It's all speculation up to this point in time what's going to happen. In a couple of weeks we'll figure out what we're going to do.''

McCoy is 23-27 in three seasons, including a playoff win and loss in his first season, 2013. He has one year left on his contract.

The Chargers failed to beat a team with a winning record in posting their worst record since also going 4-12 in 2003. Overall, they've lost 18 of their last 26 games under McCoy.

McCoy has been criticized for conservative game plans and clock-management issues.

A few hours after McCoy met with the media, the Chargers fired much of their offensive staff, including coordinator Frank Reich. Others let go were offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris, tight ends coach Pete Metzelaars, wide receivers coach Fred Graves, defensive line coach Don Johnson and assistant offensive line coach Andrew Dees. Special teams coach Kevin Spencer on Dec. 2.

The Spanos family has a history of making curious coaching decisions. They kept Mike Riley after he went 1-15 in 2000 and fired Marty Schottenheimer after he led the Chargers to a 14-2 record in 2006 and the AFC's top seed in the playoffs, where they were upset at home by the New England Patriots. Dean Spanos sided with then-general manager A.J. Smith, who had a power struggle with Schottenheimer.

Dean Spanos' son John, the president of football operations, said in a statement that he has ''utmost confidence'' in McCoy and general manager Tom Telesco.

Telesco received a contract extension during the summer but the team tried to keep it secret. Word of that deal leaked out in December.

Neither John Spanos nor Telesco returned messages seeking comment about McCoy.

San Diego has missed the playoffs five times in six seasons. Even with Philip Rivers at quarterback, the Chargers have lost eight straight and 10 of their last 12 games against AFC West rivals.

Rivers said bringing back McCoy was the right thing to do.

''As the quarterback I was certainly supportive of that, hoped that was going to be the case,'' Rivers said. ''We know and Mike knows, everybody in this building knows, it wasn't good enough this year, any of us. I wasn't good enough, Mike, none of us were. I don't think starting over with wholesale change was going to be the answer. You see teams that have done that around this league and they never win.''

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Follow Bernie Wilson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/berniewilson

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Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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