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Rampage Connections Abound in af2
posted on ArenaFan.com, Monday, February 2, 2009
While the Arena Football League sits out the
2009 season, arenafootball2 is going ahead with its season as planned. The af2
kicks off its 10th season on March 20 and it will run through August. If you
attend any af2 games this season, or watch any of the games over
the Internet, you will be able to see some former players and coaches from the
Grand Rapids Rampage on the sidelines, including two former head coaches. In
fact, they will even be facing off against each other on several occasions when
their teams meet on the gridiron.
Former Rampage head coach Michael Trigg is now the head coach and Director of
Football Operations for the af2 Corpus Christi Sharks in Texas. Trigg was the
head coach in Grand Rapids from 1998-2003. He guided the team to a win over the
Nashville Kats in ArenaBowl XV in 2001. In 2004, he became the head coach of the
AFL expansion Philadelphia Soul. He then took over the af2 expansion Sharks in
2007 and has been with the team ever since. In December, the Sharks also signed
former Rampage kicker Nick Gatto to play for the team in 2009. Gatto played for
Grand Rapids in 2004.
Former Rampage quarterback Clint Dolezel was recently named the offensive
coordinator of the af2 Florida Firecats. Dolezel played for Grand Rapids from
2001-2003 and was the quarterback during the team’s ArenaBowl XV title season.
He spent the past three seasons playing for the AFL Dallas Desperados. Trigg and
Dolezel will meet in Florida on May 1 when the Sharks travel to play the
Another former Grand Rapids head coach is now in Oklahoma City. Sparky McEwen
started out as a quarterback with the Rampage in 1998. He worked his way up to
offensive coordinator and eventually became the head coach of the Rampage from
2005-2007. In 2004, he was the offensive coordinator of the af2 Oklahoma City
Yard Dawgz and became the head coach and President of Football Operations in
2008. His defensive coordinator in Oklahoma City is Stan Davis, who was also the
defensive coordinator in Grand Rapids from 2005-2006.
McEwen and Trigg will face each other on the gridiron twice this season. The
first time is on May 25 when the Yard Dawgz travel to Texas and the second is on
June 20 when Corpus Christi travels to Oklahoma City.
The af2 Albany Firebirds recently named Tony Bowick as their head coach for the
2009 season. Bowick played OL/DL for the Rampage from 1998-2001 and again in
2005. He appeared in a total of 55 games for Grand Rapids. Bowick and Dolezel
will face each other on April 10 when the Firecats travel north to play the
Another former Rampage player, Gary Compton, is now the head coach of the af2
expansion Milwaukee Iron. Compton played WR/LB for Grand Rapids during nine
games in 2002. His defensive coordinator in Milwaukee is Madison “Mad Dog”
Johnson, who played OL/DL for the Rampage from 2002-2003 and again in 2005. He
appeared in 20 games as a player and then became a Rampage assistant coach.
Compton and Bowick will face off against each other twice in 2009. First on May
30, when Albany travels to Milwaukee, and again on July 24, when Albany visits
There may be other Grand Rapids connection in the af2, but these are the ones
that I am aware of at this time. While the Rampage may not take to the field in
2009, their presence will surely be felt throughout the af2 during the upcoming
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