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Portland Names Matthew Sauk Head Coach

October 8, 2013 - Arena Football League (AFL) - Portland Thunder News Release

PORTLAND, OR - Two-time AFL Assistant Coach of the Year Matthew Sauk has been named the Head Coach of Portland's Arena Football team, the franchise announced Monday. Known for his explosive offensive units, Sauk is one of the most decorated coaches in the Arena Football League and arrives in Portland after three seasons as the Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator of the Utah Blaze.

"Being a head coach has always been a goal of mine," Sauk said. "Few coaches have the chance to shape a new franchise and I'm extremely excited to lead this team into the 2014 season and beyond. I want to thank Terry Emmert for allowing me this opportunity.

"Our goal is to build a roster comprised of players who will compete with relentless energy and effort. When you see our team take the field, you should know that we will play hard, play fast, and finish football games."

Sauk has achieved unparalleled on-field production throughout his career. He received his first Assistant Coach of the Year award in 2011 after his offense set Arena Football League records for passing yards (5,422), passing touchdowns (128) and passing first downs (328). Astonishingly, Sauk proceeded to shatter those marks again the following season, rewriting the AFL record books while garnering his second-consecutive Assistant Coach of the Year award.

In 2012, Sauk's unit enjoyed the most productive offensive campaign in AFL history. The group surpassed previous all-time records with 5,758 passing yards, 142 passing touchdowns, 332 passing first downs, 510 pass completions and 753 pass attempts. Under Sauk's tutelage, Utah Blaze quarterback Tommy Grady earned the AFL's Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year awards while being named a first-team All-Arena performer.

A former Arena quarterback, Sauk was a 2009 af2 Hall of Fame inductee after an eight-year playing career that saw him thrown for over 17,000 yards and 345 touchdowns. He entered the coaching ranks in 2008 as a member of the Spokane Shock, where he helped guide the franchise to a victory in ArenaBowl XXIII as the Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator in 2010.

Sauk has developed a reputation for his success in developing passers. At various points in his career, he has mentored the past three AFL MVPs in Nick Davila, Tommy Grady, and Erik Meyer, all of whom are quarterbacks. Nick Davila worked under Sauk as a rookie in 2008 before going on to win MVP accolades in 2011 with the Arizona Rattlers. Grady received the honor in 2012, his second season under Sauk. Spokane's Erik Meyer earned the award in 2013 after playing under Sauk as a rookie with the Shock in 2010 and again the following season with the Utah Blaze.

A native of Livonia, Michigan, Sauk played collegiately at Utah State University in 1996 and 1997, where he set multiple records and still ranks among the top 10 in school history for career passing yards (5,385), completions (334), attempts (664), and total offense (5,466). As a senior, he earned second-team All-Big West honors while leading the Aggies to the Humanitarian Bowl.

Portland opens its inaugural season at the Moda Center in March of 2014. For information on season tickets, call 503-773-4AFL. For the latest news and information, visit or and follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@portlandafl).

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