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For Chargers, It's Ross or Erickson : Pro football: Beathard says he won't name Henning successor before Jan. 1.

December 25, 1991|T.J. SIMERS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN DIEGO — Although the shopping list for Dan Henning's successor now has been reduced to Georgia Tech Coach Bobby Ross and Miami Coach Dennis Erickson, Charger General Manager Bobby Beathard said Tuesday a new head coach will not be named before Jan. 1.

Beathard said there was no truth to a Washington Post report Tuesday that Ross will accept the Chargers' post immediately after today's Aloha Bowl with Stanford in Honolulu.

"I have no idea where this is coming from," Beathard said. "There is no deal. We haven't even set a date to meet."

Beathard has advised Georgia Tech Athletic Director Homer Rice that he will be talking with Ross, and Ross has told reporters he will be receptive to listening to the Chargers after the Aloha Bowl.

Beathard also has made contact with Miami school officials but has been advised to wait until after the Hurricanes' Orange Bowl appearance Jan. 1 before approaching Erickson. There has been no indication from Erickson, however, that he is interested in the Chargers' position.

"They both have recruiting obligations," Beathard said, "and want to get things in place before talking."

Beathard said San Francisco 49ers' offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren is no longer on his list.

"I talked to somebody who has been in contact with the league, and he cannot get out of his contract," Beathard said. "He's not a candidate."

Washington defensive coordinator Richie Petitbon also will not be considered, despite Beathard's high regard for him, because he does not want to interfere with the Redskins' playoff preparations. Beathard also thinks it would place a hardship on the Chargers' plans should they have to wait until after Jan. 26, the date of the Super Bowl.

Beathard's choice to replace Henning still appears to be Ross, but he remains intrigued by Erickson's streak of success. Erickson, however, is considered the leading candidate to replace Chuck Knox in Seattle, if Knox resigns or is fired.

Ross, who has a 30-26-1 record in five years with Georgia Tech, reportedly rejected an offer to become Cleveland's coach last season after leading the Yellowjackets to an 11-0-1 mark and the UPI national championship.

Ross denied that he even interviewed with the Browns, but later acknowledged that perhaps he had. This year he reportedly has had get-acquainted talks with the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona State. Ross has denied each report.

Ross signed a four-year contract with Georgia Tech last year that called for a base pay of $100,000 and an incentive package (TV, radio appearance, shoe contract) worth an additional $236,000. Ross will receive an annual 5% increase in his base pay.

Although he has two years remaining, his contract provides for an early out if afforded the opportunity to coach in the NFL.

While Beathard waits to meet with Ross, and perhaps with Erickson, Charger defensive coordinator Ron Lynn was moving forward with his life.

Lynn, who was being touted as a head-coaching candidate in San Diego three years ago, was dismissed Monday along with Henning and 10 other assistant coaches.

"We were listening to the (Beathard) news conference on the radio at the hospital," said Lynn, who spent Monday with wife, Cynthia, waiting for the arrival of their third child. "From what we heard, we didn't expect to be back.

"I don't look at this as a tragedy. Bobby said in his statement that he doesn't look at change as starting over. I don't either. I've been fired before, and every time we've been able to come up with a job at least as good or better."

At 7:02 p.m. Monday, Alec Patrick Lynn was born, and all was well in the Lynn household.

"When Cynth and I got married I was unemployed," Lynn said. "We got married in November; I had another paycheck coming from the USFL for December. We went on our honeymoon and figured it would all work out. In January the Chargers called. We never missed a paycheck."

Lynn's contract with the Chargers expires Feb. 1. The Chargers offered to extend Lynn's contract before this season through 1992, but Lynn found their financial offer too low.

"I had a couple of clubs ask for permission to talk to me over the last couple years, and that had been denied," Lynn said. "That was fine; I was under contract. But I felt at that time that salaries could be better based on where we were and what seems to be the market place out there for guys in my position.

"There were some guys in this league getting paid in excess of $200,000, and in my opinion, they were not any better than I was. My wife and I talked about it, and we certainly didn't think that it would come to this. We were looking more to having a good team, going to the playoffs and being in a better bargaining position."

Lynn has been the lone constant--and in most instances the lone bright spot--in the Charger organization for the past six years. The Chargers have changed general managers, head coaches and offensive coordinators, while relying on Lynn's defense to compensate for the constant changes.

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