On Friday, the Arena Football League announced their postseason awards for 2017. As part of the honors, Tampa Bay Storm head coach Ron James was named Head Coach of the Year. This is the second time he’s earned this honor, previously winning the award in 2012 after leading the Utah Blaze to a 12-6 record.
James, a 20-year veteran of the Arena Football League, officially became the seventh head coach in franchise history on October 25, 2016, replacing Lawrence Samuels. After spending 2016 with the Portland Steel, James made it his goal to return Tampa Bay to prominence after a 2-14 season.
James’ first step was assembling one of the most experienced coaching staffs in the league: Doug Kay, Gary Gussman, Shane Stafford, and Austin Wilson. As a staff,
Together, the staff engineered one of the greatest turnarounds in League history, taking a two-win, last-place team to the second-best record in the league at 10-4.
Since his hiring, the Storm saw the following under James’ watch:
- First Winning Season since 2010
- First Home Playoff Game since 2010
- 24th Playoff Appearance in Franchise History
- 10th Appearance in the ArenaBowl, 1st since 2010
On Saturday, the Storm can culminate a worst-to-first season by winning their first ArenaBowl since 2003 and breaking the league record with the franchise’s sixth victory.