Back with a Shock notebook, compiled from Monday's visit to team headquarters in the Valley.
Read on for more on how Spokane split up the pool of money for coaches, Kyle Rowley's Elway-esque run and updates on the health of Raul Vijil and Ben McCombs.
By Jim Meehan
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Nobody on the Spokane Shock coaching staff is getting wealthy.
Rob Keefe is believed to be the Arena Football League’s lowest paid head coach, probably by a sizable amount. There’s a good reason. He wanted it that way.
The AFL allows teams to spend $100,000 on coaches’ salaries. It’s up to each team to decide how to distribute the money among its coaches. Most teams pay three coaches, some pay two. Some utilize unpaid volunteers.
“If I have X amount of money and I’m on Team A and we get ousted in the first round of the playoffs, is that worth it?” Keefe said. “It’s not worth it to me. My coaches have bought into it, just like the players have bought into making $1,800 a week in the old AFL to $400 now. It’s a sacrifice, an internship.”
Was the notion of paying four coaches suggested to Keefe?
“No, not at all,” said Keefe, who will lead
“I think what you’re seeing is the teaching of small classes. Sirianni has six in his room, ‘Cruse’ seven in his room, Sauk 11 in his, five in mine. If I only have two coaches, there’s not as much teaching time and maybe instead of six or seven, there’s 13 in a room. Guys are learning the game quicker.”
Keefe’s willingness to accept lower pay rankled some AFL head coaches.
“If this is the model you’re giving me, this is the best way I can see us winning,” he said. “What they see is, ‘Look at these idiots taking less money, threatening me and I have my owner in my ear saying, Why don’t you hire another guy.’ And when you beat them, it gives validation to what we’re doing.”
Keefe’s ultimate goal is to coach in the NFL, but he thinks that opportunity, if it happens, is several years down the road. His name could surface in
“I think they know how much I’m about
Keefe has a two-year contract with
“I think people think it’s a fluke (that
McCombs, Vijil out
Defensive end Ben McCombs and wide receiver Raul Vijil aren’t expected to play Thursday and it’s doubtful they’d be available next week if
“All it really is is we’re running out of time,” Keefe said.
Vijil has indicated he wants to return next season. “So let’s be smart,” Keefe said. “You’re a part of this more than anyone else. I mean, he could have been offensive player of the year if he was healthy.”
Clinging to a 30-27 lead early in the third quarter against
“I knew I didn’t have the vertical to get in (the end zone), but they probably helped me get closer than I would have,” said Rowley, who spun nearly 360 degrees after taking a hit from the side and landing at the 1-yard line. “When you get a first down, one of the worst places you want to be is around the 8-yard line because then you may have to check it down and it gives them a chance for a stop.”
Huey Whittaker scored two plays later.
Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner, who once played for