HARRISBURG -- The Harrisburg Stampede is coming back for another season of indoor football.
In a strange twist, the team has also re-hired a coach it fired last season.
John Morris, president and owner of the Stampede, announced Thursday that Harrisburg has once again named Bernie Nowotarski as the team's general manager and head coach. Morris also said the Stampede will be a part of the newly-formed AIF (American Indoor Football) for the 2012 season. Morris serves as owner and president of the league, as well.
The Stampede fired Nowotarski last April after an 0-6 start.
"Last season we had a rough start with injuries and setbacks," said Morris in a statement. “Bernie and I decided we had to make a change and as Head Coach and GM, there was no other move to make; but I have the utmost confidence in Bernie and that the Stampede will be in the AIF hunt for a 2012 Championship title."
“I am excited to return to Harrisburg and its business community and build up our sponsorships as we really want to concentrate on creating an atmosphere of family fun and great football, while increasing our attendance," Nowotarski, who lives in Exeter, added in a statement. "I would like to thank John Morris for this opportunity to lead his franchise into the forefront of indoor football and get back to the excitement that AIF football provides."
The team will continue to play its games at the PA Farm Show's Equine Arena.
According to a news release, the AIF is set up as a national league; but will be based on regional play within each division. In 2012, the AIF will feature two divisions: one on the east coast, covering the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and North Carolina; and the other on west coast, covering the states of California and Nevada. A championship game played between the eastern and western conference champions will be hosted in 2012 by the eastern conference champion. Teams and season schedules will be released in the next few weeks. Morris said the season will begin in March 2012. The league will also host an all-star game in Cancun, Mexico.
Nowotarski also announced his coaching staff on Thursday.
Ken Miller will serve as assistant head coach/offensive coordinator; Rick Marsillio will head the quarterbacks and wide receivers; Justin Coble will oversee the defensive line and linebackers; and William Sellars will also work as a line coach. Special teams will be coached by Jake Minnich.
Nowotarski and Coble will serve as co-defensive coordinators.