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  • Todd Shell to be named Rattlers coach

    Richard Obert
    The Arizona Republic
    Aug. 3, 2004 04:42 PM


    Todd Shell on Thursday will officially be announced as Danny White's replacement as head coach of the Rattlers.

    Shell, the team's top choice since White was fired two weeks ago, is succeeding the man who gave him his first break in Arena football. White hired Shell in 1993 to be his defensive coordinator. The next season, the Rattlers won the ArenaBowl.

    Shell, who will be introduced during an 11:30 a.m. news conference at America West Arena, took his first head coaching job in 1995 when the San Jose SaberCats made him the franchise's first coach. In his first season, the SaberCats became the first expansion team in Arena football history to win a division title, taking the Western crown.

    He was 29-25, taking San Jose to the playoffs three times in his four seasons there. He was 15-9 as the New York Dragons coach the past 1˝ seasons.

    Shell, a former Mesa Mountain View High and Brigham Young linebacker, won Super Bowl rings as a player with the San Francisco ***** in 1984 and '88. He retired after five season due to injuries.

    Shell could possibly bring Lary Kuharich with him to be offensive coordinator of the Rattlers. White always handled those duties in his 13 seasons with the Rattlers. Kuharich was running-backs coach of the New Orleans Saints in 1998 and '99 when Ricky Williams played there. Kuharich is friends with Rattlers Vice President Gene Nudo,. who advised Shell to hire Kuharich two seasons ago when Shell was given the New York job at midseason.

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  • DJRamFan
    Rattlers fire coach
    by DJRamFan
    Richard Obert
    The Arizona Republic
    Jul. 21, 2004 12:00 AM


    Rattlers coach Danny White, the state's longest-tenured and most successful pro coach, was fired Wednesday.

    Neither team officials nor White would comment.

    Defensive coordinator Doug Plank and team captain Hunkie Cooper confirmed that the former Mesa Westwood High, Arizona State and Dallas Cowboys quarterback was let go.

    New York head coach Todd Shell is considered the front-runner to replace White, the Rattlers' only head coach since they started playing in 1992.

    Shell, who could not be reached, was White's defensive coordinator in 1994, when the Rattlers won the ArenaBowl in only their third season.

    White may have done his best coaching, leading the team to 10 straight wins, a Western Division title and a third straight ArenaBowl appearance after a franchise-worst 3-5 start. The Rattlers lost 69-62 to San Jose, where Shell was head coach after leaving the Rattlers.

    White's contract would have expired in October. He was 123-56 in 13 seasons (the second-most victories in the Arena Football League's 18-year history).

    "The coach had a lot of success over the years," said Plank, who has been offered a similar position with the Los Angeles Avengers and will interview for the head coaching position with the Georgia Force. "I don't know what the criteria was for making the decision."

    White, 52, may have priced out the Rattlers, who have lost money every year. They are under new owner Robert Sarver, who is seeking a partner. Without one there is no certainty the team will be around beyond 2005.

    Sarver and Rattlers President Jim Pitman are in Salt Lake City, with the Suns and could not be reached. Vice President Gene Nudo did not return a call.

    "A couple of players won't be far behind," said Cooper, a receiver/linebacker who has played under White, along with quarterback Sherdrick Bonner, since 1993.

    "Sometimes, you questioned what his motive was," Cooper said, "but he was a great leader for our franchise, and a role model for the league. I wish him the best."
    -07-22-2004, 10:04 AM
  • DJRamFan
    White pulls out of running for Rampage job
    by DJRamFan
    Wednesday, August 11, 2004
    By Gary Bond
    The Grand Rapids Press
    Danny White, whose interest in the Grand Rapids Rampage head coaching vacancy made him the No. 1 candidate, said no Tuesday.

    White threw his name into the hat after he was fired three weeks ago by the Arizona Rattlers. He had a deadline of Tuesday to inform the Rampage of his intentions.

    White told Rampage general manager Scott Gorsline thanks, but no thanks. The reason was mostly geographical.

    "It was a tough decision turning down the coaching opportunity in Grand Rapids because I was impressed with everything about the city and organization," White said.

    "I was presented with an unique coaching opportunity, one I can't elaborate on right now and I expect this opportunity will be announced no later than the Arena Football League's board of directors meeting next week in Las Vegas.

    "When everything happened with Arizona, Grand Rapids was the first team to call and make me an offer. They have been first class with everything they did and someone is going to get a great organization to work and coach for."

    White, who was born and raised in Phoenix, said he also has declined coaching positions in Las Vegas and New York.

    "White was very impressed with everything about the Grand Rapids organization and was happy with a lot of the parameters, including his contract we had talked about," Gorsline said. "In the end, though, he said he was pursuing another opportunity that was a great opportunity for him to be closer to home.

    "We knew geography would be a big issue with White especially with his family based in the southwest part of the country.

    "After speaking with Rampage owner Dan DeVos and minority owner David Green, I anticipate moving quickly in filling the job here. I don't know if we will name a coach this week, but I expect it will happen soon."

    Sources told The Press the AFL plans to announce next week that St. Lake City, Utah, will have an arena football franchise for the 2005 season and White will be the team's head coach.

    Without White, and Steve Thonn, who accepted the offensive coordinator's position with the Georgia Force, the Rampage are left with four candidates: Sparky McEwen, offensive coordinator for the arenafootball2 Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz; Kevin Porter, defensive coordinator with the New Orleans VooDoo; Rick Frazier, who finished the season as the Rampage interim head coach after Bob Cortese was fired after a team started 1-10, and Tom Luginbill, the head coach of the Detroit Fury.

    McEwen, who also was the Rampage's offensive coordinator from 2001-2003, and Porter, are candidates for the Las Vegas position. They plan to begin it face-to-face interviews no later than next week.

    © 2004 Grand...
    -08-11-2004, 12:03 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Gladiators considering coaches
    by DJRamFan
    Eight candidates, including White, being looked at to replace Haege

    By MARK ANDERSON
    REVIEW-JOURNAL






    In addition to Danny White, the Gladiators' coaching search includes two current Arena Football League head coaches whose contracts for next season are in doubt, two team sources said Tuesday.

    The Gladiators are considering Carolina Cobras interim coach Ron Selesky and Indiana Firebirds coach Mike Wilpolt to replace Frank Haege, who was fired last week. The Cobras have yet to remove Selesky's interim tag, and Wilpolt has not been signed for next season.

    They are among eight candidates, according to the sources, who provided the information on condition of anonymity. The others are: Gladiators assistants Stan Davis and Ron James; Sparky McEwen, offensive coordinator for Oklahoma City of af2; Kevin Porter, New Orleans VooDoo defensive coordinator; and Gary Reasons, Oklahoma City head coach.

    Gladiators spokesman Adam Grant declined comment about specific candidates, but said, "We obviously have narrowed the list down to individuals we feel give us a chance to compete for the ArenaBowl in 2005."

    Probably the coach most in demand is White, fired last month by the Arizona Rattlers after two AFL championships and five ArenaBowl appearances in 13 seasons. The Grand Rapids Rampage even altered its coaching search for White, keeping open the job after interviewing five candidates.

    Grant said coaches' talks with other teams will not affect the Gladiators' process.

    "The message we've given out to everyone is we don't want to hold them up from making any decision they feel is best for them and their family," Grant said. "With our owner (Jim Ferraro) out of (the country), we are physically unable to make any decisions this week."

    Ferraro is expected back Aug. 12 and will be in Las Vegas for the AFL's board of directors meeting Aug. 17. Grant said the Gladiators would like to decide on the finalists Aug. 16 or 17 and conduct in-person interviews that week.

    McEwen, also a candidate for the Grand Rapids job, said Tuesday he is particularly interested in the Gladiators position.

    Before moving to the af2 this season, McEwen was the Rampage's offensive coordinator for three years, coaching current Gladiators quarterback Clint Dolezel.

    "That roster is ready to win right now," McEwen said. "When I say win, I mean compete for the ArenaBowl title. That's saying a lot because of that division with Arizona, San Jose and Los Angeles."
    -08-04-2004, 02:42 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Georgia Force Hire Doug Plank As Head Coach
    by DJRamFan
    Bob Kronenberg retained as defensive coordinator

    ATLANTA – The Georgia Force announced today they have hired Doug Plank as the team's new head coach, effective immediately. Plank comes to the Force from the Arena Football League's Arizona Rattlers, where he has spent the last three seasons as the club's defensive coordinator. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

    “I am very excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to building a championship team here in Georgia ,” said Plank. “Arthur Blank's commitment to building the Atlanta Falcons organization into one of the best in the NFL is well known. And it is very obvious that he has that same level of commitment to the Georgia Force and the Arena Football League.”

    On May 24, 2004, Atlanta Falcons owner and CEO Arthur M. Blank and Georgia Force owner and chairman Virgil R. Williams announced they had reached an agreement in principle for the sale of the Georgia Force Arena Football League team to Blank. The transaction is subject to the execution of a definitive purchase agreement and approval by the Arena Football League's board of directors with a scheduled meeting date of August 17 th in Las Vegas .

    In addition to hiring Plank as head coach, the team announced it will retain Bob Kronenberg as defensive coordinator. Kronenberg joined the Force in 2002 as assistant head coach. He served as interim head coach for the team's final five games of the 2004 season.

    Following a 3-5 start last year, the Rattlers turned their season around, finishing with a league-tying best 11-5 record to secure the top seed in the playoffs and reach the AFL's ArenaBowl championship game for the third consecutive season. In 2002, Plank helped guide the Rattlers defense to a number one regular season ranking in rushing defense and scoring defense.

    A former member of The Ohio State University football team, Plank played in three consecutive Rose Bowls, 1973, 1974, and 1975. While at Ohio State , Plank played for legendary coach Woody Hayes.

    Plank brings with him a wealth of football experience that includes an impressive career in the NFL. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 12th round of the 1975 NFL Entry Draft and started at safety for eight seasons. The “46 Defense” created by Buddy Ryan was named for Plank's jersey number and aggressive style of play. Plank was also the first Bears rookie to ever lead the team in tackles.

    Plank's professional history also includes experience as a member of the Rattlers broadcast team. Prior to becoming defensive coordinator, he spent five years as the Rattlers' radio analyst and two seasons as their television color analyst.

    His broadcasting experience also includes stints with the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona State University Football, and Fox Sports Net.
    -08-02-2004, 04:02 PM
  • RamWraith
    Rams' list of potential new coaches headed by Croom
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Friday, Jan. 30 2009
    For nearly two weeks since he was hired as Rams head coach, Steve Spagnuolo has
    been grinding away at the task of putting together his staff.

    He's getting close to the goal line. Although there has been no official
    announcement or confirmation, the Rams are set to hire former Mississippi State
    head coach Sylvester Croom, according to league sources. It's believed that
    Croom, 54, will coach running backs in St. Louis.

    The club also is ready to hire Rock Gullickson as strength and conditioning
    coach, and Matt House to an undetermined position, according to league sources.
    In addition, Brendan Daly is joining Spagnuolo's staff as the Rams' new
    defensive line coach, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

    Gullickson, 53, was strength coach for the Green Bay Packers the past three
    seasons, and had the same position with the New Orleans Saints from 2000 to
    2005.

    House, 30, was a special teams assistant as well as assistant strength and
    conditioning coach for Carolina last season — his first year in the NFL. He
    worked with new Rams defensive coordinator Ken Flajole last season with the
    Panthers.

    Daly, 33, was a defensive assistant-defensive line coach for Minnesota in 2008,
    joining the Vikings' staff in '06. He joins another former Vikings assistant,
    Paul Ferraro, on Spagnoulo's staff.

    But the "name" hire among this latest batch of Rams assistants clearly is
    Croom. Prior to his five-year tenure as head coach at Mississippi State, Croom
    spent 17 seasons coaching in the NFL.

    Thirteen of those 17 seasons were as a running backs coach with Tampa Bay,
    Indianapolis, San Diego, and Green Bay. Croom coached in the Super Bowl 14
    years ago on the San Diego Chargers' staff. The other four seasons were spent
    as offensive coordinator for Bobby Ross and the Detroit Lions, from 1997 to
    2000.

    Croom became the first African-American head coach ever in Southeastern
    Conference football when hired by Mississippi State in 2004. In 2007, he was
    named SEC coach of the year after the Bulldogs won eight games including a
    Liberty Bowl triumph. But following a season-ending loss to rival Mississippi
    in '08, Croom resigned. His five-year record at Mississippi State was 21-38.

    He began his coaching career at his alma mater, Alabama, spending all but one
    of 11 seasons there coaching linebackers. Among the linebackers he coached with
    the Crimson Tide were future NFL stars Cornelius Bennett and Derrick Thomas. As
    a player, Croom was a center for Paul "Bear" Bryant's 1973 national
    championship squad.

    Gullickson was named the NFL's strength and conditioning...
    -01-30-2009, 06:25 AM
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