The Albany-based Arena Football League has named Former Orlando Predators head coach Rob Keefe their next head coach. Keefe led the Preds to the best record in the AFL in 2016 before the team folded later that season.
Orlando and several other teams left the AFL for other leagues or just ceased operations, which meant that Keefe was out of a job. After a year away, he returns to coach the newest AFL team.
“There is no question that Rob is a winner on the field and a good person off the field,” Philadelphia Soul co-owner Ron Jaworski said on Keefe. “I had the opportunity to get to know Rob well when he played for the Philadelphia Soul in 2008. He will be active in the community and he will make Albany proud of their team. His energy is off the charts and that energy permeates through his players and the fan base. Albany should be excited to get one of the best coaches in the game.”
Keefe knows a thing or two about winning championships. He was a defensive back when the Soul won ArenaBowl XXII in 2008. He also led the Spokane Shock to a win in an ArenaCup (af2). He’s the first and only in history to win both an ArenaCup and ArenaBowl as a player and coach.
“I can’t wait to get started,” Keefe said. “We have a lot of work to do, and you can bet that I am up for the challenge. I will not be out worked. Being an expansion team will not be an excuse for not having success on the field. I am looking forward to getting up there, meeting the fans and the business leaders, and forming a great relationship with everybody in the area. You will see me and our team very active in the community.”
During his time as a coach [and Vice President of football operations] in Orlando, Keefe posted a 61-30 record, the best in AFL history. He also won three division titles.
Albany was introduced as the sixth team in the league in October and will begin play in 2018. They are the first arena football team in Albany, NY since 2000.
The Philadelphia Soul won ArenaBowl XXX over the Tampa Bay Storm back on Aug. 26. They were the first team to repeat since the Arizona Rattlers won three in a row from 2012-14.