Former St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz was formally introduced Thursday as the coach of San Diego of the Alliance of American Football.
San Diego is the sixth franchise in the AAF, joining Atlanta, Orlando, Memphis, Salt Lake City and Phoenix. The league will debut in February.
It will mark the return of professional football to the city. The Chargers left their longtime home following the 2016 season and relocated to Los Angeles.
“From the moment Bill Polian and I began discussing our vision for The Alliance, a pro-football league founded on a commitment to players, fans and the game, San Diego was one of the first markets we discussed because of the city’s love for the game,” said Charlie Ebersol, co-founder and CEO of the AAF. “San Diego has a proven fan base that has displayed unwavering support and enthusiasm for their professional and collegiate football teams.”
Martz provides more name recognition for the fledging league. Other Alliance coaches are Steve Spurrier (Orlando), Mike Singletary (Memphis), Brad Childress (Atlanta), Dennis Erickson (Salt Lake City) and Rick Neuheisel (Phoenix).
Martz served as offensive coordinator and head coach of a high-powered offense with the Rams that was named “The Greatest Show on Turf.”
The Rams won a Super Bowl in Martz’s first season with the club in 1999 and reach the playoffs in four of his six years as head coach, including another Super Bowl appearance following the 2001 campaign.
“Mike is a Super Bowl champion with nearly 20 years of coaching experience at the professional level. We’re excited for the city of San Diego and the coaches and players that will benefit from having someone with his pedigree at the helm,” said Bill Polian, co-founder of the Alliance. “San Diego is hungry for top-flight football, and we’re confident Mike is the right person to lead the way.”
Martz last coached in the NFL in 2011, finishing his second season as offensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears. His first coaching job was as an assistant at San Diego Mesa College in 1974.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to get back on the sidelines in my hometown of San Diego,” said Martz. “This city is very special to me. It’s where I grew up, started my collegiate career and met and married my wife. I would love nothing more than to bring a championship here. The people of San Diego love football, and I’m committed to putting a product on the field that they will be proud to support.
“The Alliance leadership share in that commitment. One of the many reasons I decided to take on this challenge was Charlie and Bill’s commitment to putting high-quality football out on the field. I can’t wait to get started.”