SAN DIEGO -- It was on Bobby Beathard's recommendation that Steve Ortmayer hired Dan Henning three years ago as the San Diego Chargers' eighth head coach.
Beathard, who has fired (Jack Pardee) and hired (Joe Gibbs) only one head coach in his 29 years in the National Football League, will pick the Chargers' next head coach, if as expected, Henning's tenure comes to an end later today.
"It's Bobby's decision all the way," said a source within the organization. "Mr. [Alex] Spanos is being very good about this. It's Bobby's choice."
Beathard's candidates may include:
* Mike Holmgren, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator -- Bill Walsh's understudy. Spanos would fall head over heels for anybody with a 49ers background.
* Richie Petitbon, Washington Redskins defensive coordinator -- The Redskins are a favorite to win the Super Bowl, and if so, Petitbon will draw a lot of national attention."
* Dennis Erickson, University of Miami head coach -- He is the hottest property in football and he may be one victory away from winning a national championship. He would go over big with Chargers fans who crave a coach with a winning record (82-34-1 career mark at Idaho, Wyoming, Washington State and Miami).
* Dennis Green, Stanford head coach -- A real long shot. Bill Walsh recommended Green, and Beathard has great respect for Walsh. Green coached the receivers for Walsh, and he has a strong background on the offensive side of the ball.
* Bobby Ross, Georgia Tech head coach -- A consensus national Coach of the Year last season after directing the Rambling Wreck to an 11-0-1 record. He has four years of pro experience working with the Kansas City Chiefs, which included two years with the special teams and defense and two years with the offensive backs.