Head Coach: Rob Ryan (5th year)
Offensive Coordinator: Dave Ragone (5th year)
Defensive Coordinator: Chuck Cecil (5th year)
Summary: The Firebirds have stuck with the same coaching staff since their inception and after last year it looks like they really have a great grasp on things. Dave Ragone is doing a great job running that air-it-out passing offense, though you’d expect a bit more from the defense with Rob Ryan running things.
Head Coach: Bob Sutton (1st year)
Offensive Coordinator: Ken Zampese (1st year)
Defensive Coordinator: Jason Tarver (1st year)
Summary: Birmingham didn’t go out and get a big name to make a splash with their first-ever coaching hire. Instead, they bring in a great system guy who has coached under one of the best coaches of the modern day. Bob Sutton himself isn’t a guy fans will rally around immediately but he, Ken Zampese and Jason Tarver seem like the low-key kind of staff that will create an identity around the team and not faces.
Head Coach: Mike Singletary (2nd year)
Offensive Coordinator: Pat Shurmur (2nd year)
Defensive Coordinator: Kevin Guy (2nd year)
Summary: Mike Singletary ran a pretty solid defense last season for the re-formed Generals, which came in without a training camp or real offseason. He did his job. Now it’s time for Pat Shurmur to pick up the offense. It was tough last year with a limited amount of talent but he has more to work with now.
Head Coach: Mike Munchak (2nd year)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Munchak (2nd year)*
Defensive Coordinator: Joey Porter (2nd Year)
Summary: Mike Munchak pulled double-duty as the head coach and offensive coordinator and did a pretty solid job with the expansion Charleston Dragons. Joey Porter is very much a hot-head, but at least he gives his defensive unit some fire and personality.
Head Coach: Jim Tressel (6th year)
Offensive Coordinator: Jim Tressel (6th year]*
Defensive Coordinator: Carnell Lake (1st year)
Summary: Jim Tressel feels rejuvenated and is back for “many years to come” after a great turnaround season in Columbus last year. He worked wonders with his old Buckeye stud Terrelle Pryor running the show. Defensively, the team made a chance with Keith Butler accepting the defensive coordinator position for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Carnell Lake steps in. He was the Steelers’ defensive backs coach since 2011.
Head Coach: Bo Pelini (2nd year)
Offensive Coordinator: Danny White (2nd year)
Defensive Coordinator: carl Pelini (2nd year)
Summary: While we must continually question Bo Pelini’s judgement of wearing long sleeve sweatshirts in Dallas during the middle of the summer, we can’t question whether he had a strong inaugural season helping the Dallas Six-Shooters rebound back to becoming one of the best teams in their conference.
Head Coach: Joker Phillips (2nd year)
Offensive Coordinator: Guy Morriss (2nd year)
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Goodpaster (2nd year)
Summary: Louisville’s ownership really likes Joker Phillips, but he has a lot to prove. He wasn’t particularly successful in college. Being a great guy only helps you last so long. He needs to have the Cougars show improvement in year two.
Head Coach: Bryan Cox (1st year)
Offensive Coordinator: Dameyune Craig (1st year)
Defensive Coordinator: Cris Dishman (1st year)
Summary: Bryan Cox has been moving up the coaching ranks for quite a few years and now he’s the head man in charge in Houston. But he’s a complete unknown as a head coach. Damueyne Craig is a pretty interesting
Los Angeles Stars
Head Coach: Mark Hudspeth (1st year)
Offensive Coordinator: Frank Wilson (1st year)
Defensive Coordinator: Chris Klieman (1st year)
Summary: Taking over the team so late in the offseason, new Stars owner Eric Murray had a brand new coaching staff in place that he did not want to touch, but it will be interesting to see if Hudspeth can prove himself to be the guy to an owner who didn’t hire him. It was a fairly interesting hire as it was with only minimal success at Louisiana-Lafayette that now has been mostly vacated due to NCAA violations.
Head Coach: Chris Jones (3rd year)
Offensive Coordinator: Eric Bienemy (3rd year)
Defensive Coordinator: Chris Jones*
Summary: We’re going to give a lot of credit to Chris Jones for running a tight ship and developing some incredible talent on the defensive side, but just as much credit has to go to Eric Bienemy. He has been one of the best running back coaches around and last year you saw his expertise really shine with that three-headed monster out of the backfield doing some amazing things for the Stags.
Head Coach: Mike Jones (9th year)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Jones* (9th year)
Defensive Coordinator: Chuck Bresnahan (9th year)
Summary: New Freeze owner Rick Sullivan completely understands the great history Mike Jones has had with the Freeze and not only made no efforts to even look for “his guy” he actually expanded his role by handing him over the job as the team’s offensive coordinator. Chuck Bresnahan is as steady of an assistant as they come and enters his ninth year marching the sidelines with Jones.
Head Coach: Teryl Austin (1st year)
Offensive Coordinator: Jay Graham (7th year)
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Vrabel (1st year)
Summary: The retirement of Phil Fulmer has lead to a new era in Nashville. Teryl Austin is beginning to pick up steam as a future NFL head coaching candidate. He’ll take his shot as an SFL head coach for now though and who better to coach perhaps the best defensive player in the league (John Chick) and one of the best young linebacking corps around than one of the best up-and-coming defensive minds around. Even better for those linebackers, Mike Vrabel, who was about as energetic and veteran savvy as anybody. He’s made a nice transition into coaching. Jay Graham is the holdover from the Fulmer staff, but after seeing the progression of some young offensive players last year it would have been silly to let him go.
New Orleans Nightmare
Head Coach: John Grass (1st year)
Offensive Coordinator: Pat O’Hara (1st year)
Defensive Coordinator: Michael Barrow (1st year)
Summary: After a few failed year with the one-time highly-hyped Pete Carmichael the New Orleans Nightmare have turned the page and will look for John Grass to kick start their franchise. Grass isn’t anywhere near as notable as Carmichael was, but who is to blame them for taking the opposite approach this time. He’s been a success at Jacksonville State. This is a significant jump though. But he has some help.
Tyler Cherubini Pat O’Hara is a very respected quarterbacks coach in football and while Grass will likely be calling the plays, O’Hara might be what Zack Mettenberger needs to truly break out. The team thought Ed Orgeron was going to be the leader of their defense. He then accepted the head coaching job at LSU. Michael Barrow is nowhere near as lauded but he’s had success with the Seattle Seahawks as an assistant.
New York Marauders
Head Coach: Brian Schottenheimer (5th year)
Offensive Coordinator: Russ Grimm (1st year)
Defensive Coordinator: Ron Cooper (5th year)
Summary: Brian Schottenheimer remains in New York and is very safe for now after winning the SFL Cup just two years ago. But if he doesn’t turn things around in the next year or two, New York is an impatient place. But while he’s back, there was some big shake ups to the coordinators because of different reasons Highly-respected defensive coordinator Clarence Brooks tragically lost his battle to cancer and Ron Cooper, who was the interim defensive coordinator last year, takes over full time. Earnest Byner retired in the offseason, but in hopes of sparking the running game again the Marauders brought in Russ Grimm. He should work perfectly as the running game coordinator while Schottenheimer specialises with quarterbacks and the passing game.
Head Coach: Turner Gill (1st year)
Offensive Coordinator: Tom Rathman (1st year)
Defensive Coordinator: John Parrella (1st year)
Summary: Omaha didn’t make an inspiring hire to start their franchise. Turner Gill was mediocre at Buffalo, terrible at Kansas and has been mediocre at Liberty. But Gill has an innovative offensive mind. We’ll see how he turned out. Tom Rathman has NFL history, though unsuccessful NFL history. John Parrella is a relative newcomer to high levels of coaching.
Head Coach: Larry Coker (10th year)
Offensive Coordinator: Marc Trestman (1st year)
Defensive Coordinator: Manny Diaz (1st year)
Summary: Larry Coker continues to prove he’s one of the best coaches in SFL history. Last year was especially amazing as he had no coordinators to help out and still led the Rockets to the championship. This year he brought in some assistants, but Coker should still be the guys running the entire show. At least we might hope so because Marc Trestman might have an innovative offensive mind but has not done anything close to what made a great name in the coaching ranks for the past four years. He failed miserably in his return to the NFL. Manny Diaz has slowly risen up the coaching ranks over the past two decades.
Head Coach: Marty Mornhinweg (1st year)
Offensive Coordinator: Clint Dolezel (1st year)
Defensive Coordinator: Doug Plank (4th year)
Summary: Brian Billick’s retirement didn’t exactly come with a lot of sorrow in Philadelphia. They were ready to move on from him anyway. Marty Mornhinweg is pretty conservative coach but has a strong track record in coaching. It will be interesting to see what former SFL star Clint Dolezel can do as the offensive coordinator. Doug Plank makes his return to coaching after a few years away.
Head Coach: Ken Norton Jr. (2nd year)
Offensive Coordinator: Ken Dorsey (2nd year)
Defensive Coordinator: Pepper Johnson (2nd year)
Summary: Scorpions ownership loved Ken Norton Jr. and have given him full control. Last year the Scorpions seemed destined to go from late expansion team to playoffs. They fell off at the very end of the season, but with the entire crew back he has even more confidence from ownership. Ken Dorsey really worked wonders with Mike Reilly and this year could be another good year. Norton’s and Pepper Johnson’s defense killed quarterbacks last year and with their innovative blitz’ that should be the case again.
Head Coach: Dan Campbell (1st year)
Offensive Coordinator: Sylvester Croom (1st year)
Defensive Coordinator: Gary Gibb (1st year)
Summary: ‘Man’ Campbell may have been a little too young to take over an NFL team but there was no question that his team loved and respected him. The SFL looks like the perfect place where his coaching career can take off. Of course with the hopes of a strong running game they hired Sylvester Croom with a running back background to be their head coach. Gary Gibb has a long history of coaching and will be the veteran of the group.
San Antonio Marshalls
Head Coach: Gary Crowton (6th year)
Offensive Coordinator: Les Moss (5th year)
Defensive Coordinator: Bret Munsey (5th year)
Summary: In the fifth season in his second stint with the Marshalls’ organization, Gary Crowton led his squad to the league’s best turnaround from 2015 to 2016. With a top-notch quarterback to work with, Crowton was able to open up his playbook. But he’s only had back-to-back winning seasons once in his career.
Head Coach: Jim Zorn (18th year)
Offensive Coordinator: Sherman Smith (4th year)
Defensive Coordinator: Raheem Morris (6th year)
Summary: Jim Zorn has been the Orcas’ lead coach since the league’s inception and he once again proved that he is the greatest coach in league history when he led the Seattle Orcas to another Grand Finale game. Despite injuries and some inconsistent performances the Orcas still managed to win the Pacific Division and won the Western Conference. It also helps that he has such great coordinators. Sherman Smith and is background as a running backs coach paid big dividends in turning Isaiah Crowell into the league’s top back. Raheem Morris led and develops one of the most dominant secondaries in the league.
Head Coach: Ralph Friedgen (2nd year)
Offensive Coordinator: Keenan McCardell (2nd year)
Defensive Coordinator: Chris Cosh (2nd year)
Summary: Well, it’s hard to make drastic changes to a coaching staff after only one season, but Ralph Friedgen somehow managed to survive an 0-16 campaign. That isn’t surprising considering Wave owner Chuck McBrearty has had such incredible success with consistency on the staff with his Orcas franchise and he clearly gave Friedgen the benefit of the doubt of having a late expansion team addition with limited talent to work with, but if the Wave don’t see a big improvement after dumping a lot of money into their roster this offseason it could be a limited run for him.