Silverbacks' King cleans house; strategically builds new staff
With a new era about to start at Hobart Arena, Miami Valley Silverbacks President Matthew King is injecting a new energy into the professional indoor football team as they prepare to enter their fourth season.
"I have been waiting for four years now to build a staff like this," King said. "Now that the Hobart Arena has the ability to sell beer like other sports venues, we can run the organization the way we have been wanting to."
King has recently named Ryan Evans as the new general manager of the Silverbacks. Evans joins the team a month after the naming former National Football League player Derrick Shepard as the third head coach of the franchise. In addition, Tasa Blackmon and Tonika Heath have been hired to head up the Silverbabes.
A lot of the new energy comes from the Nov. 4 passage of the alcohol issue for Hobart Arena. Until the 2009 season, the Silverbacks were the lone professional indoor football team who did not sell alcohol at their games.
"We have been waiting for the alcohol issue at Hobart Arena to be resolved," King said. "The increase in revenue, from a variety of sources related to this passage, has allowed us to upgrade the organization to be more effective and productive."
Evans replaces Carl Allen as the general manager. Evans comes to the Silverbacks with a wealth of experience in professional sports having indoor football experience in 2005 with the Cincinnati Marshals and with the Dayton Dragons in 2008.
"Ryan brings a lot of energy and excitement to the position," King said. "He comes highly recommended from the Dragons and adds a fresh perspective to the business side of the team. "I am extremely excited about his addition to our program and foresee him doing a lot great things for the franchise."
Shepard moves from being the line coach to the head coach for the Silverbacks. Shepard graduated from Meadowdale High School before playing collegiately at Georgia Tech. He spent time with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots before spending three seasons with Arizona and Detroit of the AFL.
"Derrick is the perfect fit for our franchise as the head coach," King said. "He has great rapport with the players and coaches. He has a great plan for building a winning program. We are investing a lot into him, because we have full confidence in his abilities."
Blackmon and Heath will be called on to revitalize the Silverbabe dance team. Blackmon is a member of the U.S. military and has been working as a dance team coordinator for several years with different semi-pro teams in the area. She most recently has been the coordinator for the Miami Valley Warriors. Heath has a wealth of dance experience. This year she made the final cut to be a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers dance team, but opted for the position with the Silverbacks. Blackmon will be the Silverbabe Director while Heath will assist her.
"We have a real nice combination with Tasa and Tonika," King said. "Tasa has a lot of organizational qualities and will run a very tight, professional squad. We needed someone to come in and take over the dance team who would run the team the right way and turn them into the best in the league and I believe Tasa is the right person for the job. "Tonika brings a great knowledge of choreography and dance. Her experiences working with youth and as a dancer brings a quality to the dance team we have been missing in the past."
The Silverbacks have been competitive for the past three years despite not having the revenue streams that many teams in their respective leagues have had. Last season, the Silverbacks challenged every citizen of Troy to attend at least one game, and attendance remained unchanged from the past. The Silverbacks have been able to remain in existence due to sponsorships and being thrifty with their money.
"Not having the ability to sell alcohol at our games, I believe, has hurt our attendance in the past," King said. "We have beaten the odds by making it to our fourth season. No other professional indoor football team in the Miami Valley has lasted even half as long as we have. "We have done that by being thrifty with how we have run the team the past three years. But, the time is now right for us to be able to make the upgrades we need to strengthen our organization and make us viable for several years to come."
Silverbacks' owner Jeff Kolaczkowski is excited about the new staff and the passage of the alcohol issue by the voters in Troy in November.
"We have been waiting to pull the trigger on this for a long time," Kolaczkowski said. "We either needed to be able to sell alcohol at Hobart Arena or to move to a new arena to be able to re-energize the franchise and have the capabilities of building our staff the way we have always wanted to. "I am extremely excited about the new additions to the staff. Matt has done a tremendous job in diligently going through the interviewing process and making the right decisions for our organization."
The Silverbabes will be holding their first tryout for the 2009 squad on Saturday, December 13 at Good Samaritan North Health Center. The Silverbacks will kick off their fourth season in March and anticipate the CIFL releasing the schedule in the near future.
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