The San Diego Chargers fired coach Kevin Gilbride Tuesday following the NFL team's fourth straight loss and replaced him with offensive coordinator June Jones, who will be interim coach.
The 47-year-old Gilbride was in his second season after being signed to a 5-year contract and had a record of 6-16. With rookie Ryan Leaf at quarterback, the Chargers won their first two games, but then lost four straight as Leaf was benched during two of the losses.
The Chargers scored just 22 offensive touchdowns in 22 games under Gilbride, an offensive coordinator in Houston and Jacksonville before taking the San Diego job. Leaf has just one TD pass and has turned over the ball 15 times.
Before becoming coach of the Chargers, Gilbride was probably best known for a sideline fight in a nationally televised game with defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan.
Jones, 45, was head coach at Atlanta from 1994-96, going 19-30. Both Gilbride and Jones began their careers as proponents of the run-and-shoot offense, although San Diego lately has been using a more conventional system.
Defensive end William Fuller welcomed the change.
"We were playing for ourselves, not to save his job," Fuller told XTRA Radio in San Diego. "Too many players were falling asleep at meetings and nothing was being done about it."
After Sunday's 7-6 loss to Oakland, Gilbride said: "This is about as low as you can feel. It's probably as crushing a defeat as I've ever been associated with. To lose it the way we did at the end after the defense has played so masterfully was just heartbreaking."
© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved