ATLANTIC CITY, NJ– The Arena Football League’s newest franchise in Atlantic City, Atlantic City AFL (AC AFL), announce that they have named two-time AFL Coach of the Year, Ron James as Head Coach. Along with the hiring of James, the team also announce that they have secured their Offensive and Defensive Coordinators, Defensive Line and Linebackers Coach and Director of Player Personnel. The new AFL franchise will make its Arena Football League debut for the 2019 season, which is set to begin in April.
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 for the team 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, after 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. 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”, said Ron James, Head Coach of AC AFL.
“We couldn’t be more excited, than to have landed Ron James to lead our team on the field in Atlantic City. Ron is a football guy who has excelled everywhere he has coached, and we expect his success to continue and thrive in Atlantic City. The staff that Ron has put together is right up there with the best in the league and they will be in the hunt to recruit top level talent to come to AC. The Atlantic City fans will love the product that Coach James and his staff will put on the field and we have every reason to believe that they will contend for a championship”, said Ron Jaworski, AFL Executive Committee Chair and Trifecta Sports & Entertainment Owner.
AC AFL has also named Shane Stafford as the team’s Offensive Coordinator. Stafford began his career in the Arena Football League as a quarterback for the Tampa Bay Storm in 2001, where he played for five seasons. Stafford holds the Storm’s single-season and career records for completions (408), passing yards (4,793) and touchdown passes (86). In 2016, he joined James on the Tampa Bay Storm’s staff as the Offensive Assistant Coach. There, Stafford helped lead the Storm to the ArenaBowl. Stafford spent 2018 as the Offensive Assistant Coach of the Washington Valor, who went on to win ArenaBowl XXXI over the Baltimore Brigade.
AC AFL adds former AFL defensive back, Sergio Gilliam, as the team’s Defensive Coordinator. A graduate of Clemson University, Gilliam began his indoor football career in 2010, when he split time between the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz and the Arizona Rattlers. Gilliam had his breakout season in 2011, playing for the Kansas City Command; he led the team with nine interceptions and tallied 79.5 tackles. After bouncing around, playing for teams in Pittsburgh, Spokane, and Portland, Gilliam played in the only season of the China Arena Football League for the Shanghai Skywalkers in 2016. In 2017, Gilliam got his first taste of coaching as a Co-Defensive Coordinator with the Indoor Football League (IFL) Salt Lake Screaming Eagles. Gilliam spent the 2018 season as a Defensive Backs Coach for the Massachusetts Pirates of the National Arena League (NAL).
The League’s new Atlantic City franchise also announced that former First Team All-Arena Defensive End, Caesar Rayford, has been named the Defensive Line and Linebackers Coach. Rayford began his professional career in the Canadian Football League (CFL) in 2008, before making his indoor debut in 2009 with the Spokane Shock (AF2). After one year in Spokane, Rayford was assigned to the Utah Blaze, where he played under Head Coach Ron James. After three years in with the Blaze, Rayford worked his way to the NFL, and played for both the Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys in 2013. After his stint in the NFL, he bounced between the CFL, AFL, and NFL, before finding himself back with James as a member of the Tampa Bay Storm at the end of 2016.
AC AFL named former Defensive End, Brandon Lang, the Director of Player Personnel for the new team. The Troy University graduate began his professional career as an undrafted free agent with the San Diego Chargers in 2010. Following his time in the NFL, Lang transitioned to indoor football, and was assigned to the Orlando Predators in 2011, before moving back to outdoor football with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL in 2012. He remained in Canada for two years, signing with the Ottawa Redblacks in 2014.
“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. The last time Coach James stepped on an AFL field was in an Arena Bowl championship game and the expectation is that he will lead this team right back there. His support staff are all sure to be head coaches in this league someday, as the league expands. The fans of Atlantic City are in for a treat as this team will play hard, score a lot and contend for a championship.”, said George Manias, President & COO of Atlantic City AFL and Trifecta Sports & Entertainment, the parent company operating the team.
Fans can secure their season tickets for the new Atlantic City Arena Football team now with a $50 deposit per seat by calling 609-783-9494 or by going to AtlanticCityAFL.com. A team representative will contact those that have submitted a deposit in the upcoming 1-2 weeks to select your specific seats, which will be done in order in which deposits were received.