Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Utah Blaze Complete Coaching Staff

After engineering an impressive midseason turnaround on defense, Rob Keefe will return as Defensive Coordinator of the Utah Blaze. The franchise announced today that Keefe has agreed to a new contract, ensuring that the entire 2012 Blaze coaching staff will return to the team for the 2013 season.
“Coach Keefe played an integral role in our National Conference Championship run last season,” said Head Coach Ron James. “His unwavering energy and enthusiasm instilled a newfound sense of confidence in our defense. I’m excited to officially have our 2012 coaching staff back intact. I have no doubt that we have the right group in place to take this franchise to the next level in 2013.”
“I’m extremely grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to be a part of the 2013 Utah Blaze,” said Keefe. “Our expectations are to win a championship and we’re going to work tireless towards that goal every day.”
Defined by his energy, excitement, and overall passion for the game, Keefe is well known for his hands-on approach to coaching. After allowing an average of 64 points during its first 10 games, Utah hired Keefe midway through the 2012 season. Keefe commenced an immaculate turnaround on the defensive side of the ball, as the Blaze allowed just over 51 points per contest over its final eight games. In the opening round of the 2012 postseason, the change in culture was loudly put on display as the Blaze defense surrendered a mere 34 points in a victory over the top-seeded San Antonio Talons.
Keefe began his coaching career in 2009, joining the af2’s Spokane Shock as the secondary coach. He was promoted to Head Coach when the organization joined the Arena Football League in 2010 and became the youngest coach in AFL history to win a championship, as the Shock defeated the Tampa Bay Storm in ArenaBowl XXIII.
As a player, Keefe entered Arena Football in 2004 with the Columbus WarDogs of the af2. He joined the Spokane Shock for the club’s inaugural season in 2006 and ended his two-year tenure with the franchise as the team’s career leader in tackles (168) and interceptions (19), twice earning all-af2 accolades as a defensive back. Keefe entered the AFL in 2008 and won an ArenaBowl title as a member of the Philadelphia Soul.
Keefe is one of few people in Arena Football history to capture championship titles as both a player and coach in the AFL and af2.

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