Don Coryell debuted on the National Football League scene in 1973 when he was named the head coach of the St. Louis Cardinals.
When he took over the coaching reins in St. Louis, the Cardinals were a team that had not won a title of any kind since the 1948 season.
In 1974, with a vastly improved offense, the Cardinals took the NFL by surprise. The “Big Red” won the NFC Eastern Division with a 10-4 record that included a 7-1 mark against their division opponents.
Coryell took over as coach of the San Diego Chargers four games into the 1978 season when he again inherited a team that had not won a title in many years. The Chargers last division title came in 1965. He instantly installed a new explosive offense that soon was labeled “Air Coryell.”
Coryell had succeeded in turning the Chargers into one of the NFL’s elite teams as evidenced by San Diego’s three straight AFC Western Division titles (1979-1981).
Coryell, who was named the NFL and NFC Coach of the Year in 1974 and the AFC Coach of the Year in 1979, posted an overall record of 114-89-1.