Coach Barto Looking to Return to .500
Southaven, MS-For the last four seasons, the Memphis Xplorers of the af2 have been coached by Danton Barto. In his first two years as Head Coach, Barto suffered back-to-back losing seasons, ending up 11-21 overall. The organization continued to believe in the coaching success of Barto, who had improved his record from the following year, and had been plagued by season-ending injuries of the teams more talented players.
In his third season, Barto reversed the losing ways of the Xplorers, and took them to their first playoff game in franchise history. The team won ten games, and gave the (2004 ArenaCup champions) Florida Firecats their toughest test throughout their playoff run. The team had three all-af2 team members, and in the process established themselves as one of the premier teams in the league.
As of week ten in the 2005 season, the Xplorers are tied for the best record in the league at 7-1. Memphis was ranked number one in the Week Nine Coaches Poll, another franchise first. In the past 16 games dating back to last season, the Xplorers are 13-3. This weekend Memphis will travel to Arkansas to take on the Twisters, and Barto will have a chance to improve his overall record as a Head Coach to 29-29, a .500 mark.
I am obviously very happy about being close to .500, said Barto. Every coach in the world wants to have a winning record.
Coach Barto added later that he felt he might have come up too soon, and been given a rare chance to coach at the professional level at such a young age. I am only 34 years old, and have already been a Head Coach for four years, said Barto Personally, I feel that when I took this job, I was probably too young and not prepared. Every year I have gotten better and better, and I hope to continue that throughout the remainder of this season.
In his first year with Memphis, Barto was 5-11, and followed that up with a 6-10 season in his second year. With seven wins in eight games already this season, Barto has a strong chance to break the ten-win mark of 2004, continuing the trend of improving in every season.
The af2 has always prided itself in being a developmental league for players and coaches. For Barto, the af2 has been the perfect place for him to find himself as a Head Coach. I have learned a lot about coaching in the past four years, said Barto. I feel that there are three things that make a coach successful at any level- time management, organization, and player personnel. Without those three things in place you are going to struggle.
Barto credits a lot of his recent success to his coaching staff, which includes Director of Player Personnel Chris Bauer. Barto said, Chris is a major part of the winning team we have right now. He has really helped me locate talented players which have led to winning more games.
The rest of the Xplorers coaching staff consists of OL/DL Coach Chuck Boler, WR/DB Coach Deumaine Reeder, and FB/LB Coach Jesse Allen. Reeder and Allen have both played under Barto with the Xplorers. These guys have all been a major part of the success this team has had, said Barto. As I have gotten better, so have they. We are all constantly learning from each other, and making each other better at what we do.
Memphis is currently 7-1 and in first place in the Mid-West Division of the National Conference. The Xplorers will take on the Arkansas Twisters this Saturday in Little Rock. Memphis beat the Twisters in week three 54-13. Game time is scheduled for 7:00pm. All Xplorers games can be heard on SportsRadio WMC The Mighty 790 AM. The next home game is June 11th against the Quad City Steamwheelers. Single game tickets start as low as $7, and can be purchased by calling 662-280-9120, visiting the DeSoto Civic Center box office, or by logging onto www.TicketMaster.com today. Memphis Xplorers Arena Football! Back in Black!
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