Former Lehigh Valley Steelhawks head coach Chris Thompson has been named the director of football operations for the Albany-based Arena Football League team. Thompson stepped down as the Steelhawks head coach yesterday to take the role. Thompson will also serve as the team’s offensive coordinator.
During his seven seasons in Lehigh Valley, Thompson was the Steelhawks head coach and offensive coordinator. He won the 2017 National Arena League (NAL) Coach of the Year. They also played in the postseason all seven seasons under him.
His last game with the team came as a loss to the Columbus Lions in the NAL semifinals. He’s made the postseason 11 of his 12 seasons working in the Indoor Football League (IFL), Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) and the American Indoor Football League (AIFL).
“Chris has a tremendous record of success in the indoor game,” Albany head coach Rob Keefe said of his new offensive coordinator. “He has proven to be a consistent winner in every role and situation he has been in. He has a brilliant football mind along with an energy that is consistent with this organization. Chris has all the tools to run a championship football operations department as well as high-powered offense.”
“I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to coach in the Arena Football League for a long time,” Thompson said. “The opportunity to work with the ownership group in Philadelphia that I have gotten to know so well over the years, along with new ownership group in Albany and with a proven leader in coach Keefe, is a dream come true. I can’t wait to help put together a championship caliber team and offense.”
The Albany team was announced as the AFL’s sixth active team on Oct. 24. They will play home games at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY. This is the first team in Albany since the Firebirds left town in 2000.