Interim tag removed, Stingley now focuses on rebuilding roster
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When Power owner Matt Shaner was faced with the task of hiring a coach for next season, he met with his football brain trust and began discussing potential candidates to lead the team in 2013.
In the end, the obvious answer was right in front of them.
The Power named Derek Stingley as the team's head coach for 2013 earlier this week. Stingley had served as the team's defensive coordinator all season and interim head coach since May 21.
While Shaner said the front office considered other candidates, they didn't contact anyone except Stingley.
"It was a pretty easy decision to come to," Shaner said.
"The record (5-12) isn't what we'd like it to be in terms of wins and losses, but we think we have a great core of players here. Most of our players have spoken that they would like to continue to play for coach Stingley."
Stingley will coach his first game as the official boss tonight against Jacksonville, as the Power tries to gain any sliver of momentum heading into the offseason.
The Power has certainly shown improvements since Stingley took over as interim head coach. The team is 3-4 in games he has coached, including one win by forfeit.
Two of the losses were by a combined five points.
"As of right now, I truly like the team we have," Stingley said. "This team is playing good football."
After tonight's game, Stingley's first order of business in the offseason will be determining which players to invite back next year. Shaner and Stingley both cited Stingley's close rapport with the players as a reason for the turnaround since he took over.
"I can guarantee you, if I asked any of these players that are on this roster right now, today, if they would like to come back, I'm pretty sure I would get 100 percent of those guys to say, 'Yes, coach, I'll come back and play for this team,' " Stingley said.
Some of those players may be here for longer than just next year. The league's new collective bargaining agreement allows teams to sign players to contracts of up to three years. Shaner indicated that the Power would definitely take advantage of that ability, but declined to specify which players could get long-term deals.
As far as new additions, Shaner said he expected the team to take a look at quarterbacks in the offseason. The Power used four different starting quarterbacks this season, with Andrico Hines leading the team to victory in two of its past three games.
Stingley and Shaner agreed that no longer having the "interim" tag next to his title will allow Stingley to attract free agents more effectively.
"Having coach Stingley, rather than just saying, 'I'm the interim head coach,' to be able to say, 'I will be the head coach next year,' is something he needed to recruit as well as he can," Shaner said.
Stingley can't start talking to free agents from other AFL teams until September, though, and he insisted Wednesday that the current focus was on tonight's game.
"They're the next team and the last team on our schedule to play," he said.
"We want to win that game because naturally that puts us on a winning streak going into 2013."
First Published July 20, 2012 12:00 am