Former Poets coach Don Coryell dies at 85

Former Poets coach Don Coryell dies at 85

Photo by: Robert Lachman/Los Angeles Times

WHITTIER, Calif. – Don Coryell, who led the Whittier College football team to three consecutive SCIAC Championships, died on Thursday, July 1. He was 85.

Coryell served as the front man of the Poets football program for three seasons and amassed a 21-5-1 record. In 1957, his first year with Whittier, he guided the team to a 6-2-1 record and the first of the program’s eight straight conference crowns.

He went 8-1 in his second year which includes an unblemished mark in conference play. In his final season in 1959 the Poets went 8-2 with a 5-0 record in the SCIAC. Although his teams won 22 games, a 96-0 win over Seal Beach in ’58 was later dropped from the records and called a scrimmage.

Coryell’s .796 winning percentage is the highest among the 18 coaches in Whittier’s history.

The Seattle, Washington, native is most known for his time with the San Diego Chargers from 1978 to 1986. His innovated passing attacks were called “Air Coryell” as he coached several NFL greats including Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts.

Coryell passed away at the Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, Calif. The cause of death is unknown although he had been in poor healthy for some time.

ESPN Article: Ex-Chargers coach Don Coryell dies

USA Today: Hall honors for Coryell should have already come

LA Times Obituaries: Don Coryell dies at 85; longtime coach of the San Diego Chargers