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AFL Q&A: Tampa Bay Storm Coach Tim Marcum

May 5, 2004 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I)

NEW YORK – Riding a three-game winning streak, seven-time ArenaBowl champion head coach TIM MARCUM and the defending champion Tampa Bay Storm are focused in their Drive to ArenaBowl XVIII. This Sunday on NBC at 3 p.m. ET, Marcum and the Storm (6-7) host the Los Angeles Avengers (7-5) at St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.

Now in his 16th season as a head coach and his 10th with Tampa Bay, Marcum - often dubbed the ‘Vince Lombardi of the AFL’ - has 164 career wins, the most by any coach in league history. A charter member of the Arena Football Hall of Fame, he was the first coach in professional football history to be elected to any professional Hall of Fame while still an active coach.

The two-time AFL Coach of the Year (1987, 1998) and his respective teams have advanced to the playoffs every season. He has coached in 10 of the 17 ArenaBowls. He earned seven ArenaBowl rings with three different teams, including the first-ever championship game as head coach of the Denver Dynamite in 1987. He also earned three rings with the Detroit Drive (1988, 1989, 1992) and three with Tampa Bay (1995, 1996, 2003).

In January 2003, Marcum was awarded the American Football Coaches Association’s inaugural Outstanding Achievement Award. He was honored with the AFL’s Founders Award in 2001.

Q: When was the first time you ever coached football?

A: Wow, that’s a long time ago. I was 22-years-old and I was in El Dorado, Texas. I had just gotten out of McMurry (University) in January of 1967. I was an assistant football coach and assistant track coach.

I coached baseball in high school for two years and I coached track for Ranger Junior College. One of the things that I am fairly proud of in track is the first African athlete to win the Boston Marathon, IBRAHIM HUSSEIN from Kenya. I brought him to America to run track at Ranger Junior College.

Q: How does the AFL differ from 100-yard football?

A: One of the most important things is the speed of the game. That has been emphasized. The individual matchups are a little different. Our rules are set that you can’t double-team any single receiver. The matchup of the receiver against the defensive back, the defensive back against the receiver and certainly the offensive and defensive line - it’s more of a one-on-one matchup strategy and it’s a much simpler game.

Q: Are your children fans of your sport?

A: Oh yes, most definitely. My grandkids are too. Michelle, my oldest daughter, lives with me along with my grandson Austin. Austin is kind of our little mascot. He hangs around, dresses in the jersey the day of the game, and helps the trainer with water and all that.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to?

A: I listen to the oldies, a little bit country. I’m not much of a hip-hop man.

Q: What is your favorite sport movie?

A: I like “Bull Durham,” “Field of Dreams.” You name one, I’ve pretty much liked it. I liked watching a lot of our guys -- Arena Football players -- in “Any Given Sunday.” (Tampa Bay QB) PAT O’HARA had a speaking part in that. He also had a big speaking part in “The Water Boy” as a backup quarterback. I really enjoy watching our guys and kids that I’ve been around and coached in these movies.

Q: Describe your characteristics on and off the football field.

A: I just try to do what I think is going to be the right thing on and off the field to win games. That’s the whole key.

Q: How does it feel to be the winningest coach in the AFL history?

A: It feels like I have to win one more. (It’s) never enough. Winning is a journey, it’s not a destination.

Q: What makes you a good coach?

A: The players.

Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t coaching in the AFL?

A: I never thought of myself doing anything but coaching, so I really don’t know. I sold used cars in Tempe, Ariz. But that wasn’t where my heart was. I sold a lot of cars, but that wasn’t what I wanted to do.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?

A: Coaching arena football. As long as my health is good and my ownership is behind me, then that’s what I’m going to do.

Q: What is your favorite moment from your AFL career to date?

A: My favorite moment was actually seven times – my seven favorite moments. (It was) being in the seven championships that I was involved in. Of course, the last one (in 2003) was pretty sweet because we hadn’t won it since 1996.

Q: Who is the toughest AFL player/coach you’ve faced in your career?

A: I don’ t know about faced, but we’ve had some awful good football players here. (Former Tampa Bay QB and current Orlando head coach) JAY GRUDEN is certainly one of them - to turn around and face him as a coach and as a player. In my opinion he is still one of the toughest guys to ever step on the field as a quarterback. I’ve had guys like (12-year OL/DL) SYLVESTER BEMBERY. I went against him when I was (coaching) in Detroit and then he was able to come to down here (and played for me). He was certainly one of the toughest individuals I’ve ever been around.

Q: Which AFL arena do you think is the toughest to coach in?

A: Certainly Orlando’s Arena (TD Waterhouse Centre) is one of the toughest because our relationship with those guys. It’s a love-hate relationship, where they love to hate us. And I’m sure that (Orlando head coach) JAY (GRUDEN) would tell you that in Tampa Bay at St. Pete Times Forum, it’s tough for the opposing coach to come in here.

Q: What two AFL teams would you like to see in the ArenaBowl this year?

A: Well, I’d like to see Tampa Bay. I have no preference on the other one.

DID YOU KNOW? Marcum coached linebackers for STEVE SPURRIER at the University of Florida in 1990.

Marcum was the starting quarterback at McMurry University from 1965-66 under GRANT TEAFF. He was 2001 inductee into the McMurry University Athletic Hall of Honor.

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