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Mr. Intensity, A Look at Head Coach Rich Ingold

July 15, 2003 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Quad City Steamwheelers News Release

For Quad City Steamwheelers head coach Rich Ingold, the road to the Quad Cities has been a long, winding road. Many miles have been traveled to end up in this “great situation.” The story of Ingold is a unique one, starting in Pittsburgh and arriving here in the Quad Cities.

After a solid high school career, Ingold moved onto the University of South Carolina, where he played one season before transferring to Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Ingold had an all-American career at IUP and will even be inducted into the IUP Hall of Fame this fall.

“It was great, I played some as a true freshman at South Carolina,” Ingold said. “Then they brought in a new coach with a new style that didn’t fit me, so I moved onto IUP and was a starter for three years.

“Plus IUP was only an hour and a half from Pittsburgh and I wanted to be close to home so my family could see me play.”

Despite his career at IUP, Ingold did not receive the opportunity to make it to the NFL, mainly because of his size.

“I was a highly rated quarterback coming out of college, but wasn’t given the opportunity to play in the NFL because they said I was to short,” Ingold said. “I am quick and get rid of the ball, that style was perfect for me and Arena Football.”

Ingold then got the opportunity to play in the newly developed Arena Football League (AFL) in 1987. A game that was invented by Steamwheelers current Managing Owner/Operator Jim Foster.

In his first season with the Washington Commandos, Ingold earned First Team all-AFL honors.

“This game was made for me,” Ingold said. “I am not 6’4” tall, I am only 5’ 11”, but I was quick and that is what you need in this game.”

Jim Foster, the AFL’s founding commissioner, will remember Ingold as on of the league’s first great quarterback’s.

“He was a fierce competitor and a great leader, a very bright field general. His succession as an Arena Football coach is no surprise to me,” Foster said.

While playing football, Ingold doubled as the quarterback’s coach for IUP. “It actually worked out great,” Ingold said. “The fact that the seasons ran at different times made it easy.”

In the AFL’s sophomore season in 1988, Ingold quarterbacked the Drive to an ArenaBowl championship, which is an experience that Ingold will never forget.

“It was huge,” Ingold said. “They brought in Tim Marcum (who just recently coached the Tamp Bay Storm to the ArenaBowl Championship) and he is who I learned a lot my coaching styles from. He treats everyone the same, that’s what makes him so successful.”

Ingold’s first AFL coaching experience came in 1990 when he received the job as Offensive Coordinator with the Pittsburgh Gladiators. Pittsburgh being a place that Ingold knew just a little bit about as he grew up in the Pennsylvania city.

“It was super, working for Joe Haering (who is now a scout in the NFL),” Ingold said. “We came close to winning a championship that year and it was a good experience.”

Ingold then returned to IUP to become the quarterback and receivers coach and the offensive play caller.

“From day one, head coach Frank Cignetti and I had a lot of respect for each other and always gave me a lot of responsibility,” Ingold said. “I worked hard to maintain that respect.”

In 1995, Ingold returned to the AFL for a one-year stint with the Connecticut Coyotes as an assistant.

Then Duquesne University came calling. In 1999, Ingold was the Offensive Coordinator at the NCAA Division I-AA school. Little did Ingold know how much this would pay off in the future.

While at Duquesne, Ingold met current ‘Wheelers QB and former Duquesne QB Tony Zimmerman. The two had a great relationship while there together and developed a bond that some coaches and quarterbacks fail to do.

“Tony and I went through a lot of the same stuff, so we can relate to each other real well,” Ingold said. “Plus Duquesne was close to home.”

Then in 2001, Ingold made the move back up to the AFL ranks, this time on the opposite side of the ball at Defensive Coordinator. So what made Ingold decide to make the switch from offense to defense? Well it had a little to do with his offensive mindset.

“It was an ideal thing for me to do, it helped me progress into becoming a head coach,” Ingold said. “I study what philosophy the other team tries to use, where they try to attack you and being an offensive minded guy you can see that.”

After a one-year stint with the Gladiators, Ingold then moved up to the af2 to become the Quad City Steamwheelers head coach.

The Steamwheelers had just completed a 37-1, back-to-back ArenaCup championship run in 2000 and 2001 under the helm of former Steamwheelers head coach Frank Haege. With all of the success, many players and coaches moved up to the AFL, leaving some significant holes for the 2002 Steamwheelers team to fill.

Managing Owner/Operator and Arena Football Inventor Jim Foster then looked to one of the game’s original players to continue the Steamwheelers success.

“Jim (Foster) and I have stayed in contact ever since I met him back when I first played in the AFL and he had always like my style of playing,” Ingold said. “It just seemed as if it was a proper fit for us to work together again.”

Being a guy from out east, Ingold had to make the adjustment to midwestern life, but the transition was very easy as Ingold fell in love with the Quad Cities and the Midwest.

“The Quad Cities reminds me a lot of Pittsburgh,” Ingold said. “It’s a river town, sports town, and people around here have a passion for sports and the Steamwheelers.”

Ingold took over the helm of a depleted 2001 team and had some work to do to get a winning football team together for the 2002 season. And winning is something that fans in the Quad City have come accustomed to.

“It was tough at first with all the success the first two teams had and then being banned from the playoffs. The thing that I had to do was weed out the guys that I wanted and didn’t want in order to get a winning team on the field,” Ingold said.

In the off-season, Ingold did what he does best, recruit. He brought in his former understudy QB Tony Zimmerman from Duquesne as well as numerous others. By the time the 2002 season started, Ingold had put together a winning combination.

The 2002 team started out winning its first four games of the season. Then after a loss to Peoria, things got a little rough for Ingold and the Steamwheelers.

In the team’s eighth game, bad news hit for Zimmerman and Ingold. Zimmerman suffered a broken leg and would be lost for the season. Ingold was left with big decisions to make.

“We started out good, but then we lost Tony and I didn’t have the proper guy in there backing him up. But then we brought in Mike Cawley and finished up the season nicely,” Ingold said.

After a rough patch, the team eventually finished up at 10-6, a record worthy of a playoff spot, but due to league sanctions, they were not allowed to play in the 2002 post-season. It did set up the way for better things to come.

Ingold’s second off-season would prove to be a lot easier than his first, but there was still much work to be done.

Ingold went to work again, trying to replace the 2002 stars that made the jump to the AFL with more up and coming stars of the future. His recruiting skills worked like magic again as he brought in one of the best teams anyone had seen in an af2 camp.

The Steamwheelers did drop the first two games of the season by a combined four points on a missed PAT and missed field goal, but got the kinks worked out and have now rattled off 12 straight.

“In my mind, you really win the games in the off-season when you are doing the recruiting,” Ingold said. “I work hard at it, always on the phone and trying to get the best possible fit for our team.”

So what is it about this coach that makes everyone in the league want to play for him and players who do play for him not want to leave?

“Number one I am honest. I take great pride in being an honest person,” Ingold said. “I don’t lie to my guys and my philosophy is that I am fair but firm. Once we hit that field it’s all business, we are here for a purpose.

“We are so well established here with our contacts that people have in this organization, this is a place that where you play well you will have the opportunity to move up because of the people in our organization’s connections,” Ingold said.

That may have a little bit to do with why they call him Mr. Intensity. If anyone sees him on game day they know how intense he can be.

“A lot of it has to do with growing up in Pittsburgh. Look at the coaches that have grown up there, Bill Cowher (Steelers), Jim Haslett (Saints), Mike Ditka (Saints/Bears), just look at their attitudes,” Ingold said. “Football is intense in Pittsburgh and it’s just instinctive for me to coach the way that I do.

“I am not a ‘put your hands in your pocket type of guy,’ I get on players when I need to and they respond to that.”

With all the work that Ingold does, you would think that it would be impossible for him to have a family life or a wife that can manage two kids with dad being away a lot, but Ingold makes time for his family and claims he is “Mr. Mom” when he is at home.

“It’s hard at times, but before we got married she understood what my career interests were,” Ingold said. “She has been understanding since day one and knew going into this what it was going to be like, but she likes her space to, so it works out well.

“She is a great mother, but what’s great about this job, is that I can go home in the off-season and recruit from Pittsburgh, for periods of time.

When I am home I am ‘Mr. Mom.’ I don’t go out with my old friends, I am spending all of my time with my family.”

The future looks bright for Ingold with his past and current success and he will go wherever his job takes him. “I like being a head coach and this is a crazy business, so basically I want to stay on top and keep winning,” Ingold said.

Now you see how Mr. Intensity does it day in and day out throughout the season and how he got to be who he is.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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