Ernie Zampese was an American professional football coach in the National Football League.
35 Facts About Ernie Zampese
Between 1976 and 1999, Zampese served as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator for various National Football League teams.
Ernie Zampese gained his greatest acclaim as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers under head coach Don Coryell.
Ernie Zampese was the father of NFL coach Ken Zampese.
Ernie Zampese passed for 1008 yards and 14 passing touchdowns.
Ernie Zampese played left halfback for the USC Trojans football team from 1955 to 1956.
Ernie Zampese developed a reputation as a colorful character at USC.
Ernie Zampese set the USC record for longest punt, 85 yards against Wisconsin.
Ernie Zampese was barred from competition in 1957 due to Pacific Coast Conference penalties against USC.
Ernie Zampese later recalled that the part-time job that cost him his eligibility as a senior was sweeping leaves for $1.50 an hour.
In June 1958, Ernie Zampese signed a contract to play professional football for the Ottawa Rough Riders in the Canadian Football League, reportedly for $9,000.
Ernie Zampese was cut by the Rough Riders in August 1958.
Ernie Zampese then took a job as a postman in Santa Barbara, where he was married to his wife, Joyce.
Ernie Zampese later recalled that his wife straightened him out and urged him to return to college so that he could pursue his dream of becoming a football coach.
Ernie Zampese enrolled at Cal Poly and received a degree in physical education.
Ernie Zampese got his start in coaching in 1962 when he was hired by John Madden as the backfield coach at Allan Hancock Junior College in Santa Maria, California.
Ernie Zampese became the head coach at Hancock in 1964 after Madden left to join Don Coryell's coaching staff at San Diego State University.
In 1966, Ernie Zampese moved to Cal Poly as the backfield coach.
In June 1967, he was hired by San Diego State head coach Don Coryell as his defensive backfield coach; Ernie Zampese replaced Madden, who resigned to join the Oakland Raiders staff.
Ernie Zampese remained an assistant coach at San Diego State from 1967 to 1975 and was one of two assistant coaches to retain his job after Coryell resigned in 1973 to join the St Louis Cardinals.
Ernie Zampese recalled that his years as an assistant coach at San Diego State was his first exposure to a great passing attack.
Ernie Zampese began his NFL coaching career in 1976 as the defensive backs coach for head coach Tommy Prothro of the San Diego Chargers.
Ernie Zampese spent the 1977 and 1978 seasons as a scout for the New York Jets.
In March 1979, Ernie Zampese was reunited with Don Coryell as the wide receivers coach for the San Diego Chargers.
Ernie Zampese coached the receivers, including Hall of Famers Charlie Joiner and Kellen Winslow, from 1979 to 1983.
The Times feature appeared under the headline, "Ernie Zampese Puts Air in Coryell Attack", and portrayed Ernie Zampese as a behind-the-scenes strategist sitting in a cubbyhole and speaking in an incomprehensible jargon.
Ernie Zampese explained his approach to the passing game as follows:.
In 1983, Ernie Zampese was promoted to assistant head coach in charge of the passing game.
In 1985, the Chargers shuffled assignments, with Ernie Zampese losing the title of assistant head coach and becoming offensive coordinator.
Fortunately for morale, Ernie Zampese is not the type to worry about what he is called.
In February 1987, Ernie Zampese signed as offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams.
Ernie Zampese took an offense that was ranked 17th in the league before he arrived and turned it into the third best scoring offense in the NFL in 1988 and second best in 1989.
In January 1998, Ernie Zampese signed as offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots.
Ernie Zampese held the position for the 1998 and 1999 seasons.
Ernie Zampese was the father of Ken Ernie Zampese, quarterbacks coach for Washington Commanders since 2020.