ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando Predators introduced the team's new head coach as Rob Keefe for the upcoming 2014 season on Tuesday.
Keefe is the youngest coach in AFL history to win a championship.
Overall, the team said Keefe has four championship victories to his name, and is the only person in Arena Football history to win the ArenaCup (AF2) and the ArenaBowl (Arena Football League) titles as both a player and a coach.
"I am extremely honored and blessed to be the new Head Coach of the Orlando Predators," Keefe said when asked for comment. "I am excited to begin a new chapter and a renewed commitment to excellence that all Predator fans deserve. I would like to thank Dave Pearsall, Scott York and the rest of the Predator family for giving me this opportunity to be a part of a historic franchise and its rise back to the top."
Keefe, who was the defensive coordinator for the Blaze last season, started his coaching career in 2009 with the Spokane Shock as the team's defensive coordinator before being promoted to head coach for the 2010 season, when the organization joined the Arena Football League. The team said Keefe is entering his 6th season as an Arena Football Coach.
"We wanted to ensure that our new head coach would bring driven leadership to the field and it was important to us that he know how to win," said Majority Owner David Pearsall. "With 4 rings on his hand already, the mutual goal is to put one on his thumb this year. Coach Keefe personifies the dedication, enthusiasm and hunger it takes to succeed, and may be the only person I know who demands more of himself than I will expect. Rob has a strong knowledge of the game, a focus on winning and we are proud to welcome him as the Predators new head coach and to the city of Orlando."
According to the team, Keefe played his first and only season in the AFL in 2008 as a member of the Philadelphia Soul. Keefe helped the Soul earn a victory over the San Jose SaberCats in ArenaBowl XXII in his last active game as a player.
Keefe attended Mercyhurst College (Erie, PA) from 1999 to 2003. He collected nine interceptions in his career and ranks 27th in school history with 166 career tackles. The team said Keefe was also a star on special teams, and he still holds the school record for most punt return yards with 643.
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