Former San Diego Chargers and San Diego State coach Don Coryell, who helped revolutionize football’s passing game, died Thursday of pneumonia at the age of 85, the Chargers announced.
Coryell died at 3:15 p.m. surrounded by family at Grossmont Hospital, according to the Chargers.
Coryell coached the Chargers to a 72-60 record from 1978-86, including three American Football Conference West Division championships. He coached San Diego State to a 104-19-2 record from 1961-72, including NCAA College Division national championships in 1966, 1967 and 1968.
Coryell also coached the St. Louis Cardinals from 1973-77.
“We are terribly saddened by the passing of coach Coryell,” Chargers President Dean Spanos said. “He revolutionized the game of football, not only in San Diego, but throughout the entire NFL.
“Don Coryell was a legend not only with the Chargers, but throughout San Diego. Though unfortunately he did not live long enough to see it, hopefully one day his bust will find its proper place in Pro Football’s Hall of Fame.”
Coryell was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999. He was the first coach to win 100 games at both the college and NFL levels.
Coryell gained the “Air Coryell” nickname for high-flying offenses at San Diego State and the Chargers.
Funeral arrangements are pending.