ATLANTIC CITY – The Arena Football League’s newest franchise in Atlantic City may not have a name, but it does have a coach. The team announced that two-time AFL Coach of the Year Ron James will be the team’s head coach. Along with hiring James, the team also announced offensive and defensive coordinators, defensive line and linebackers coach and director of player personnel.
Public voting to name the team has ended and the organization will take time to select it from the names submitted and do a little administrative work before the name is announced, according to the team’s website. The new AFL franchise will make its Arena Football League debut for the 2019 season, which is set to begin in April at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.
James began his head-coaching career in the AFL in 2004, as the head coach of the Las Vegas Gladiators. The following year, he joined the staff of the Utah Blaze, where he was an assistant coach for three years before being named to the position of head coach in 2008. Following his tenure with the Utah Blaze, James moved from Pittsburgh to Portland, before ultimately finding himself in Tampa Bay in 2016 where he was named head coach of the Storm. During his single season with the Storm, James earned his second AFL Coach of the Year honors and leading the Storm to a 10-4 regular season record, and an ArenaBowl XXX appearance.
“I am thrilled, not only to make my return to the new Arena Football League, but especially to become the inaugural head coach of the Atlantic City team,” James said. “I am excited to get going and I embrace the challenge of starting up a new franchise and all that it entails. My staff and I are dedicated to winning and most importantly, we will also be dedicated to our community. We will work tirelessly to put a winning product on the field and make an impact in our community off the field. I can’t wait to get started.”
“We couldn’t be more excited, than to have landed Ron James to lead our team on the field in Atlantic City,” AFL Executive Committee Chairman and Trifecta Sports and Entertainment owner Ron Jaworski said. “Ron is a football guy who has excelled everywhere he has coached, and we expect his success to continue and thrive in Atlantic City.”
Jaworski said James is looking to recruit top level talent for the Atlantic City team, which will likely be a championship contender.
AC AFL has also named Shane Stafford as the team’s offensive coordinator. He was quarterback of the Tampa Bay Storm, where he played for five seasons and led the Storm to the ArenaBowl. Stafford spent 2018 as the offensive assistant coach of the Washington Valor, which went on to win ArenaBowl XXXI over the Baltimore Brigade.
Former AFL defensive back Sergio Gilliam will be the team’s defensive coordinator; First Team All-Arena defensive end Caesar Rayford will be defensive line and linebackers coach; former defensive end Brandon Lang will be the director of player personnel.
“The caliber of the coaching staff that we have put in place in Atlantic City will put this team in immediate contention for an Arena Bowl championship,” said George Manias, president and COO of Atlantic City AFL and Trifecta Sports and Entertainment, the parent company operating the team. “The fans of Atlantic City are in for a treat as this team will play hard, score a lot and contend for a championship.”
Season memberships for the inaugural 2019 season are on sale now. Fans can secure their season tickets with a $50 deposit per seat by calling 609-783-9494 or at AtlanticCityAFL.com. Follow the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.