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Bennett Decides To Stay In Manchester For Third Season

October 11, 2006 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Manchester Wolves News Release

The Manchester Wolves are proud to announce that Ben Bennett, the most successful coach in Wolves franchise history, will return as their head coach for the 2007 season. Bennett made the move official today by signing a one-year contract with the team.

"I'm happy to be back in Manchester," Bennett said. " I have the same goal for this year as I did when I signed two seasons ago; I want to bring the ownership and the city of Manchester a championship ."

Bennett became one of the most popular figures in Manchester after transforming the Wolves from a 5-11 squad in 2004 into an East Division champion in just one season. In 2005, Bennett guided the Wolves to a franchise-best 12-win season, finishing 12-5 overall. The team's Cinderella season also included a 10-game win streak and a trip to the second round of the af2 playoffs. In 2006, Bennett once again guided his Wolves into the playoffs with a 9-7 record. Manchester won their first-ever home playoff game on August 4 against rival Wilkes-Barre Scranton Pioneers, 55-47, before falling to Bennett's old team the Florida Firecats, 39-40, in the second round.

"This is great news for our fans and for our franchise," said Wolves General Manager Angelo Mazzella. "Ben has not only become a great asset to our team, but also a welcome addition to the community. We're very fortunate to have him back and we're already looking forward to next year."

Bennett, simply put, is a winner. His vast background in the Arena Football business includes five ArenaBowl appearances as a quarterback, two ArenaCup appearances as a head coach, and numerous awards and league records garnered throughout his career. Before coming to Manchester, he spent the 2003 and 2004 seasons building the Florida Firecats into a league powerhouse. He took the team to two straight ArenaCups, winning the title in 2004.

In four seasons as a head coach in the af2, Bennett has compiled an impressive overall record of 46-26 (including playoffs). His win total is the highest among active coaches and fifth best all-time. Bennett's coaching resume also includes stints with the Florida Bobcats (AFL, 2001), the Greensboro (NC) Prowlers (af2, 2000), and the Milwaukee (WI) Mustangs (AFL, 1998).

Ben Bennett , the player, was a perennial Arena Football League MVP who was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 2000. He found the most success playing Arena Football after brief stints in the NFL, USFL, and WLAF. Bennett was the first and some argue the best quarterback to run the "Fun & Gun" offense designed by Steve Spurrier, who was then the offensive coordinator at Duke University. He racked up seven NCAA, 15 ACC, and 42 school records at Duke. Bennett left the school in 1984 as the NCAA All-Time Leader in three passing categories. His statistics surpassed the totals of NFL quarterbacks and future Hall of Famers Dan Marino, John Elway, and Jim McMahon.

Since Bennett has been a coach in Manchester he has helped to advance the careers of seven of his players to the ranks of either the AFL, CFL, NFL or NFL Europe and the total keeps on climbing. As of yesterday three more players, the first from the Wolves' 2006 team, can be included as Steve "Speedy" Gonzalez and Brian Mance both signed AFL contracts with Jon Bon Jovi's Philadelphia Soul while Steve Bellisari signed with the New Orleans VooDoo of the AFL.

"I'm proud of all our guys and I am going to try and get as many as I can into camps because they deserve the chance," added Bennett. "I expect to see anywhere from four-to-seven players from last year's team advance to a higher level, so far we have three."

The Wolves won back Bennett's services after he was courted for coordinator positions by several AFL teams. Now officially back in the mix for 2007, Bennett will spend the upcoming months scouting, conducting camps, and being the team's top spokesman at numerous community events and charity functions.

Bennett's first action of business will be scouting the New England area for talent, by announcing the Wolves' first tryout camp for the 2007 season. The open camp will be conducted at Bedford's Rising Stars Sportscenter in Bedford, N.H. on Saturday November 11 from 9:00am-12:00pm. Interested participants can pre-registration ($50.00) today by calling the Wolves office (603.627.WOLF) or pay the day of the camp ($60.00), however space is limited and pre-registration is encouraged. The tryout is open to all positional players except kickers.

Don't miss another exciting season of Manchester Wolves football in 2007! For information on season tickets, the upcoming tryout, or the new Wolves merchandise line fans can contact the Wolves at 603.627.WOLF (9653) or visit them on the web at

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