On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Storm named Ron James as the franchise’s seventh head coach in history, per team president Derrick Brooks.
“It gives me great pleasure to introduce Ron as our next head coach. Ron has over 30 years of coaching experience that he is bringing with him to Tampa Bay. After spending time with him throughout this vetting process, we believe he is best exemplified what we want to do, and where we want to go, as a team.”
As part of a coaching resume that spans back to being the linebacker coach at Siena College in 1986, this is James’ fifth head coaching stint in the Arena Football League. After spending two seasons in the early ’90s as an assistant coach for the Albany Firebirds and three more from 1999-2001 as a line coach for the Houston Thunderbears, James became the head coach of the Las Vegas Gladiators in 2004.
After a 12-18 record in two seasons, the Gladiators moved to Cleveland, and James was hired as an assistant with the Utah Blaze. When Danny White resigned in 2008, James was promoted to head coach, and led the Blaze to a 30-33 record, including a 12-6 season in 2012 that saw the blaze lose to the eventual ArenaBowl champion Arizona Rattlers in the conference championship game.
Although the Blaze folded at the end of the 2013 season, James quickly found a new job with the Pittsburgh Power in 2014, leading the team to a 15-2 record that ended in a 56-48 loss to the Orlando Predators in the conference semifinals.
Despite a 3-13 record with the Portland Steel in 2016, Brooks, a former NFL linebacker, brought James in to drastically improve the Storm’s defense, which was one of the statistical worst in the league throughout a 2-14 season.
James, an Albany, New York, native and All-American offensive lineman at Siena, spent the majority of his coaching career as a defensive assistant and coordinator. With Pittsburgh, the Power led the AFL in interceptions (36), were second in scoring defense (43.2 ppg), and were third in total defense (256.0 ypg).
At the news conference, James was glad to bring his wealth of experience to a historic franchise.
“I am extremely humbled and excited to join one of the most storied franchises in the Arena Football League. It’s a great feeling to be a part of a team that has such strong management and leadership. This is truly an honor, and I want to thank Derrick Brooks, [owner] Jeff Vinik, and the entire Storm organization for giving me this opportunity to lead the team into the future.”