Saturday, July 31, 2004
By Gary Bond
The Grand Rapids Press
Sparky McEwen is doing the best he can to stay focused.
His Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz have an arenafootball2 playoff game today and a week has passed without a decision in the hunt for a new coach for the Grand Rapids Rampage.
Grand Rapids native McEwen has been a candidate for the Arena Football League coaching job for a second consecutive year. And like Danny White, who has received many phone calls about possible coaching jobs since being fired by the AFL Arizona Rattlers last week, including one from the Rampage, McEwen's phone has been ringing too.
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McEwen, the Rampage offensive coordinator from 2001 through 2003, was contacted by the AFL's Las Vegas Gladiators on Friday. He is on their list of possible replacements for Frank Haege, who was fired Thursday.
"I have talked to Sparky McEwen and he's on our list of possible head-coaching candidates," said Dan Dolby, the Gladiators' general manager. "We will condense our list of names down in the next few weeks and begin face-to-face interviews the week of August 16.
"McEwen has just as good of a chance as the rest of the candidates."
Dolby made a call to McEwen, but it was former Rampage quarterback Clint Dolezel, who teamed up with McEwen to guide the Rampage to the ArenaBowl XV Championship in 2001, who called Dolby to give his support for McEwen.
Dolezel was traded to Las Vegas last offseason after playing in Grand Rapids from 2001-2003.
"Once I found out the organization had fired Heage I made a call to say McEwen should be a candidate for the job here," Dolezel said. "And I think there is a good possibility he will come in for an interview."
White, who is considering the Rampage coaching position, asked for and was given more time by the Grand Rapids organization to sift through all his coaching options over the next few days.
Rampage general manager
see RAMPAGE, C6
Scott Gorsline, who wasn't aware McEwen was a candidate for the Las Vegas job, doesn't expect to speak with White again until Monday.
That leaves things in a holding pattern here for McEwen and the other four candidates, who have completed their interviews with the Rampage.
"The job hunt will take care of itself in due time and it's something I can't concern myself with because I have no control," said McEwen, who was in Grand Rapids for a few days recently because the Yard Dawgz had a bye week.
The expansion Oklahoma City franchise (10-6) will host a first-round playoff game today.
"I have a huge, huge date on Saturday and that's where I've tried to put all my focus and attention, trying to bring a ArenaCup championship to Oklahoma City. But I'm aware of the Las Vegas situation and I know I'm a candidate for the head-coaching job there.
"Given the fact Clint Dolezel is there, one of the best in the AFL and one I had great success with during my three coaching seasons in Grand Rapids, possibly being re-united with him is intriguing."
© 2004 Grand Rapids Press. Used with permission