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Chargers Keep Schottenheimer in Charge

The speculation is over.

Marty Schottenheimer will stay as the Chargers’ head coach next season, team President Dean Spanos said Jan. 17.

The decision follows the Chargers’ 24-21 playoff loss to the New England Patriots on Jan. 14. The defeat knocked San Diego out of the playoffs and a possible berth in the Super Bowl, after the team racked up a 14-2 regular-season record, the best in its 36-year history.

The loss was Schottenheimer’s second playoff defeat as San Diego’s head coach, and put his postseason record as head coach at 5-13, including six straight losses dating back to 1993.

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However, during his five seasons with the Chargers, Schottenheimer has a 47-33 mark, including 35 wins and two divisional titles in the last three seasons.

Despite some well-publicized disagreements between him and General Manager A.J. Smith, the Chargers’ ownership decided retaining Schottenheimer, 63, was in the best interests of the team.

Spanos offered Schottenheimer a one-year extension on his current contract for $4.5 million, with a buyout option of $1 million through 2008. That would allow the team to pay Schottenheimer $1 million if the owners decided to hire another coach after next season.

Schottenheimer rejected the offer, opting to continue working under the current contract.

“He decided not to accept this extension, and I respect his decision,” Spanos said Jan. 17. “Now it is time to put this issue behind us and move forward together. That is what I told both Marty and A.J. when I met with them this afternoon. The entire Chargers family will do whatever it takes to bring a championship to San Diego.”

, Mike Allen

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