Darren Arbet Announced as New Head Coach of the Bay Area Panthers
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Bay Area Panthers (@PanthersIFL) of the Indoor Football League(@IndoorFL) have named Arena Football League Hall of Famer Darren Arbet as the new head coach of the Indoor Football League franchise.
Arbet is well-known in the South Bay, having led the San Jose SaberCats to four ArenaBowl championships over 15 seasons and was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 2011.
"I'm really excited about coming back and coach in that arena and in San Jose," said Arbet. "The fans were great to me and there's another opportunity to pay them back--hopefully win some games."
That's the plan, according to majority owner Roy Choi: "The message from his hire means the Panthers are serious about winning a championship. I'm excited for him because I know he loves the game and he loves coaching. He loves developing players and connecting with the fans. "
Arbet added: "I have to take my hat off to Roy Choi. He was just tenacious. He knew what he wanted and he's putting together a great staff. We still have to perform on the field and get things done. "
Joining Arbet on the coaching staff is Rob Keefe, who comes to the Panthers after winning an IFL Championship as the defensive coordinator of the Northern Arizona Wranglers. Under Keefe's guidance, the Wranglers finished first in the IFL in total defense and ranked second in scoring defense.
"When Mr. Choi called to discuss his vision for the Panthers for the 2023 season, I was intrigued and honored," said Keefe. "Hearing the plan, goals and structure of what is to come in the Bay Area had me hooked. I am thrilled to be involved with something that I know is going to have the ability to be awesome. "
Keefe brings experience a track record of success as a head coach over seven AFL seasons--winning championships in Spokane in 2010 and Albany in 2019.
"He's one of the best in indoor history on the defensive side of the ball," said Arbet. "I feel I'll learn a lot from him. He's won two ArenaBowls as a head coach and just won the championship this year as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator. I can't tell you how excited I am about working with him. "
Choi feels the pieces are in place to build a winner: "We are so lucky to have a combination of Darren Arbet, a multiple championship winner and Rob Keefe, who easily could have gotten a head coaching job somewhere else after winning his IFL championship this year. Our future is bright."
In their first IFL season, the Panthers finished with a 1-15 record.
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