SAN DIEGO — Ron Nay, the Chargers' director of scouting and the former right-hand man to owner Alex Spanos, resigned Wednesday to enter the real estate business.
Nay, 48, who had been with the team nine years, was a respected scout whose influence in the organization mushroomed after Spanos purchased the team from Gene Klein in 1984.
Nay at one time appeared to be the heir apparent to General Manager John Sanders. He maintained a high profile during the 1984 and 1985 seasons and often spoke publicly on matters of policy and personnel.
However, Nay was more of a bit player than a leading candidate for that job during the 4-12 season last fall. Early this year, Spanos hired Steve Ortmayer as director of football operations, a job equivalent to general manager.
No one in the Charger front office would comment on Nay's changing role with the team.
Spanos, in a statement released by the club, said he wished Nay well. Ortmayer, in a separate statement, said Nay was helpful in preparing for this year's NFL draft.
Nay said his resignation was not related to internal matters, and he predicted a bright future for the club under Coach Al Saunders.
"The Chargers are in good hands with Al and Steve, and they have a base of young players who are ready to mature," Nay said. "I have the highest regard for Mr. Spanos and I'm not bitter about anything.
"I wanted to take a crack at something else, to see if I could be as successful in business as I was in football. I've been on the road seven months a year for the past 17 years, and I was tired of the travel. If it turns out I miss football, I might get back into the game in a year or so."
Nay said he and his wife, Bonnie, will enter the real estate business in partnership with a friend in Mission Gorge.
Nay said he had been considering the move for the past three months, but wanted to wait until after the draft, held last week, before he made up his mind.
He said he had no problems with the way the Chargers drafted, even though they surprised many observers by selecting a tight end, Rod Bernstine of Texas A&M, in the first round.
"We followed the board closely," he said, referring to the wall-sized chart on which the Chargers rated the top players in college football. "Bernstine is going to be a good player, and the scouts voted for him. I sat beside Steve all through the draft, and we discussed every move with Al and Mr. Spanos."
Among other accomplishments, Nay was credited with drafting offensive lineman Jim Lachey in 1985 and defensive lineman Leslie O'Neal in 1986. Both are rated as being among the top players in pro football at their positions.