Very good.AIFL team takes major step forward
B.J. Luke will be Demolition's first-ever coach
BY CHAD DARE
DANVILLE The Danville American Indoor Football League team took three major steps forward on Wednesday.
Andrew Haines, league owner, announced the teams name, its new owner and its first-ever coach.
The Danville Demolition will begin play in the AIFL this upcoming season under the direction of Danville High School football coach B.J. Luke.
I think its an exciting time for Danville, said Luke, during the news conference. This is just one more thing that is very exciting for this community.
Taking over the reins of ownership for the Demolition will be John Christner, an Indiana businessman, who grew up in South Bend, Ind.
Ive been involved in number of successful startup businesses and Ive always wanted to be involved with professional sports, Christner said. Our goal is to be recognized in this area as being a top-notch professional franchise with strong ties to our community.
Haines believes Christner is a good fit with Danville because of strong work ethic.
He is a young guy with a lot of energy, which is what you need to run one of these teams, Haines said. Getting coach Luke on board is a great accomplishment for us. Ive heard nothing but great things about him and he is kind of a legend in this area.
We have a team name, we have an owner and we have a coach in place. Now we can go out and market ourselves.
Haines said the team is currently searching for a team office.
We just need to get our home schedule released, which should happen later this month and we can start selling this team to the community, he said. Right now, we are just selling an idea or a concept. But, once we get the people into the arena, I know they will be hooked.
The Danville Demolition will play all of its home games at the David S. Palmer Arena.
The AIFL season is scheduled to run from February until early June.
Thats one of the most attractive features to Luke, who is getting ready to embark on his second season with the Vikings.
That is a downtime for us, said Luke, pointing out that AIFL practices will be at night after his responsibilities at school. I dont see any real problems. Sometimes I put my feet up too much in the offseason.
I think this will keep me out of the house and keep Holly (Lukes wife) happy.
There are three major adjustments that Luke is going to have to get ready for team colors, finding players and the style of football.
Im going to feel a little funny wearing black and gold, he said. At the high school level, you basically coach the kids that you are given or, basically, the ones in the school district.
Were going to responsible for going out and finding our own players. We will get a chance to evaluate them and decide which players we want.
Luke said he hopes to build his roster around a number of local players.
We want to find guys that want to play football, we would love to find some people from the area, he said. We want to tape into our area schools, like Eastern Illinois, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue and the other smaller Division III schools in the area.
Plus, hopefully, we can get some of the local kids that have gone away to schools and want to comeback to the area.
In his time this summer, Luke has been watching films from different indoor football leagues.
Its a little different game, he said. You have to have a thick skin if you are a defensive coordinator. You might give up 56 points per game and that could be good. Ive seen a lot of scores like 66-62.
Luke believes the Demolition is another positive in the Danville athletic scene.
Look at the success of the Danville Dans during the summer, he said. Most of those players are college kids with no ties to our area, but the community does a great job of supporting them.
We hope that the Danville community gets behind this program the same way.
In an announcement on Tuesday, the AIFL has added the Springfield Stallions to the league.
That should be a good natural rivalry for the Danville franchise, Haines said.
Ticket prices for the Demolition range from $10-25 and season ticket packages go from $65-150.
The team's in Illinois, the owner's from Indiana, and the guy who won the contest (that's me) is from Wisconsin! So, it's a Tri-State team!