Former San Diego Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer dies at age 77

Marty Schottenheimer
Posted at 6:34 AM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 11:40:36-05

(KGTV) -- Longtime NFL player and head coach Marty Schottenheimer, who guided the Chargers to two playoff berths in five seasons with the team, has died at age 77, according to an ESPN report.

ESPN NFL reporter Chris Mortensen tweeted that the 77-year-old Schottenheimer "peacefully passed away with family at his side on Monday, February 8, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina."

Schottenheimer had been battling Alzheimer's disease since being diagnosed in 2014. He was recently transferred to a hospice facility for additional care.

Schottenheimer is survived by his wife of 54 years, Pat, his children, Kristen and Brian, and grandchildren, Brandon, Sutton, Savannah and Catherine.

Born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1943, Schottenheimer lived and breathed football, playing linebacker through high school and into college, at the University of Pittsburgh. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts and in the seventh round of the AFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, opting to play for Buffalo.

After spending four years on the Bills and earning an AFL Championship, Schottenheimer played two seasons with the Boston Patriots before bouncing from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Baltimore Colts and then retiring in 1971.

In his 21-year career as an NFL head coach, Schottenheimer compiled a 200-126-1 record. He was the head man for the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins, and San Diego Chargers.

He led the Chargers to two playoff berths during his five-year tenure (2002-06), including a league-best 14-2 record in the 2006 season -- his final year as an NFL head coach.

In a statement posted on, team owner/Chair Dean Spanos said:

"Marty was a tremendous leader of men and a man of great principle -- the love and admiration his former players have for him to this day speak volumes. You couldn't outwork him. You couldn't out-prepare him. And you certainly always knew exactly where you stood with him.

I am grateful that he was our head coach for five seasons, and I am even more fortunate to have been able to call him a friend. Facing Alzheimer's disease, Marty's incredible wife, Pat, said that he'd approach the diagnosis the same way he coached, 'full throttle.' Marty was big on practicing what he preached. And over the last few years, like so many of his players before him, Marty always found a way. He was, in so many ways, the ultimate competitor.

Our deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers go out to Pat, their children Kristen and Brian, and all of the Schottenheimer grandchildren Marty loved so much."

In his years as an NFL head coach, Schottenheimer developed the coaching strategy referred to as “Marty ball” or run, run, pass, punt. It worked well for him throughout his coaching years during the regular season, but it never paid off in the playoffs. Schottenheimer’s 205 wins (regular season and playoffs combined) are the most of any head coach to not reach or win an NFL championship.

But despite never winning it all, Schottenheimer’s legacy is truly unforgettable, and his coaching tree continues to have an impact in the league to this day, with names such as Bruce Arians, Mike McCarthy, Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, Hue Jackson, Mike Tomlin, Jim Caldwell, Doug Marrone, Todd Bowles and Leslie Frazier all tracing back to him.

WEWS contributed to this report.