A few months after Lawrence Samuels parted ways with the Tampa Bay Storm, the Storm have found their seventh head coach in franchise history. Team President Derrick Brooks made the announcement that Ron James will take over the reins in Tampa.
“It gives me great pleasure to introduce Ron as our next head coach,” Brooks said, “Ron has over 30 years of coaching experience that he is bringing with him to Tampa Bay. After spending time with him throughout this vetting process, we believe he best exemplified what we want to do, and where we want to go, as a team.”
James spent the 2016 season as the head coach of the Portland Steel, who folded this offseason. James coached Portland to a 3-13 record last season before getting steamrolled by the Arizona Rattlers in the 84-40 in the National Conference Semifinals.
James brings 30 years of coaching experience to the Storm, and he spent eight of those years as a head coach. The 2012 AFL Coach of the Year has led his teams to three playoff appearances, which includes a trip to the National Conference Championship in 2012. “I am extremely humbled and excited to join one of the most storied franchises in the Arena Football League,” James said. “It’s a great feeling to be a part of a team that has such strong management and leadership. This is truly an honor and I want to thank Derrick Brooks, (owner) Jeff Vinik and the entire Storm organization for giving me this opportunity to lead the team into the future.”
A native of Albany, New York, James played collegiate football at Siena for four seasons, where he was an All-American offensive lineman. James began his coaching career at Siena in 1986 as the team’s linebackers coach. Jones began his AFL career in 1990, when he was an assistant coach for the Albany Firebirds for two seasons. James would return to college football after spending time with Albany.
After brief stops at Hartwick College and Kentucky Wesleyan, James would coach the offensive line at Army for two seasons. James would return to the AFL in 1999 when he coached the offensive and defensive line for the Houston ThunderBears. He would then become the assistant head coach for the Las Vegas Gladiators in 2002, before taking over as the head coach in 2005. James then took over as the head coach of the Utah Blaze in 2010, leading them to a 30-33 record over four seasons. James became the head coach of the Pittsburgh Power in 2014, and he led them to a 15-2 record. Known for his defense, Pittsburgh led the league in interceptions (36), and they were second in scoring defense (43.2), while finishing third in total defense (256.0). James will look to improve a Storm team that went 2-14 last year.