Dean Cokinos, head coach of the Washington Valor, finalized his football operations staff today. Benji McDowell, Cos Dematteo, and Steve Thonn will serve as assistant coaches to Cokinos.
“We have been very fortunate to acquire this group of coaches and support staff in our inaugural season,” Cokinos said. “A strong staff is vital to the development of the team, we have a good blend of experienced and young talented professionals on board.” This will be McDowell’s second season in the AFL as a coach. Last season, he served as the defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Storm.
McDowell has played for the Georgia Force, New Orleans Voodoo, and the Alabama Vipers. He also served as a graduate assistant at Georgia. Dematteo will be the Valor’s player coordinator. He has coached with the Voodoo and the Force. He’s also coached for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.
Dematteo also played for the Barcelona Dragons of NFL Europa. Additionally, he played for the Arizona Rattlers, Nashville Kats, and New York Dragons. Thonn will be the Valor’s offensive coordinator. Last season, Thonn was the head coach of the Cleveland Gladiators. He’s also been the head coach for the Grand Rapids Rampage and the Houston Thunderbears, and he’s served as the offensive coordinator for the Force.
Finally, he played for the Chicago Bruisers and the Albany Firebirds. The Valor also filled the vacancies for team doctor, head athletic trainer, equipment manager, operations coordinator and strength and conditioning coach. Washington will kick off their inaugural season against the Baltimore Brigade on April 7.