AFL coach, team picked; name up to fans

afl helmet
A news conference to announce the specifics on Portland's new AFL team was held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s a story you saw first on KOIN 6 News: Portland is getting an arena football team.

And now we know who will coach it and who the team will be.

The San Jose Sabercats and the Arizona Rattlers take the field for the start of the ArenaBowl XVIII in Phoenix, June 27, 2004. (AP Photo/David Kadlubowski, File)
The San Jose Sabercats and the Arizona Rattlers take the field for the start of the ArenaBowl XVIII in Phoenix, June 27, 2004. (AP Photo/David Kadlubowski, File)

It’s the Milwaukee Mustangs. The team is relocating from Milwaukee, Wis., after being dormant during the 2013 season.

KOIN 6 News has confirmed Matthew Sauk has been hired to lead the team. He was twice selected as the AFL’s Assistant Coach of the Year as offensive coordinator for the Utah Blaze.

According to Sauk’s website, he “played an integral role in directing the Blaze passing attack to first-place rankings in consecutive seasons. Utah finished atop the Arena Football League in 2011 with an average of 301.2 passing yards per game, and then surpassed that feat in 2012 by posting an astonishing 331.1 aerial yards per contest.”

There’s now a Facebook voting session to name Portland’s new AFL team. On the docket are the names “Portland Prowlers” and “Portland Spirit.” Facebook fans also can submit their own names for consideration.

A news conference to announce the specifics on Portland’s new AFL team was held at 2 p.m. Wednesday. In attendance were Arena Football League Commissioner Jerry Kurz, Howard Zuckerman from the Moda Center and franchise president Jared Rose.

The AFL team will play at the newly renamed Moda Center. The team effort is being led by franchise owner Terry Emmert, current owner of the Portland Chinooks in the International Basketball League, and owner of Emmert International, an engineering transport company based in Clackamas.

The team is expected to start playing next March — after the Trailblazers’ season is over. Season tickets will start at $99, which covers nine home games. The team is expected to play nine games at home, and nine games on the road.

This won’t be the first Arena football franchise in Portland. The Forest Dragons played here for three seasons — 1997, 1998, and 1999 –  before relocating to Oklahoma City. According to the AP, that team eventually became the Oklahoma Wranglers, who folded in 2001.

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