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2018 NAL Coach of the Year Joins Cobras

January 5, 2019 - National Arena League (NAL) - Carolina Cobras News Release

GREENSBORO - Former Massachusetts Pirates head coach Ameer Ismail will be joining the Cobras 2019 coaching staff.

After leading the Pirates to the top record in the NAL this past season (11-5) and winning the NAL Coach of the Year Award, Ismail has decided to move in a different direction with his career.

"Sometimes you gotta take a step back to grow higher than before," Ismail states. "I've developed a great friendship with coach Back and after meeting [Cobra's owner] Mr. Storm it's a great fit. I'm very excited."

Ismail built the Massachusetts defense that led the NAL with 11 defensive touchdowns, 43 turnovers caused, holding opponents to just 27% when attempting fourth down conversions, and yards per play with 4.8, all league bests. The were second in the league in yards per game allowed, fumble recoveries, interceptions and turnover margin. Ismail also coached the offensive line unit that allowed the fewest sacks in the NAL (11).

"Ameer is a valued coach who has turned down other opportunities to help us start another run", Coach Back stated. "He's a good friend and coach who's energy level, knowledge and fire will help ignite us for this upcoming season. He will fit right in with our team and be a factor when it comes to our overall product in 2019."

Ismail has experience as both a player and coach, participating briefly in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Following his NFL stint, Ismail played arena and indoor football for many teams, including the Jacksonville Sharks, Milwaukee Mustangs, Tri-Cities Fever, Bloomington Edge, and Chicago Slaughter. He earned First Team All-IFL twice and was named the 2012 IFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Starting in 2014 Ismail began his coaching tenure, taking a job with the Cedar Rapids Titans as the defensive coordinator. Ismail was hired as a defensive coordinator in 2015 and 2016 as well, this time with the Tri-Cities Fever and Spokane Empire of the IFL. His first head coaching appearance came in 2017 with the Bloomington Edge of the CIFL, with the Edge finishing 7-5 in the regular season.

Prior to his professional career, Ismail made a name for himself in college football, playing for Western Michigan University. Ismail holds the NCAA record for most sacks in a game with six in a 41-27 win over Ball State, as well as earning Division I All-American recognition. While juggling football and academics, Ismail earned his Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science and Physiology, and his Master's in Sports Management and Administration.

"I'm just wanting to come in and help in any way I can under coach Back's guidance," Ismail says. "Whatever the team and organization needs from me, I will do."

Ismail is originally from Lansing, Michigan, where he attended Holland West Ottawa High School.

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