When the Spokane Empire ceased operations after the 2017 season, head coach Adam Shackleford thought his 35-year streak of involvement in football was coming to an end. He had held nearly every title – player, assistant coach, personnel director, offensive coordinator, head coach – but he wondered if it was time to stay on the sideline with his family firmly settled in Spokane.
The season is winding down in arena football leagues across the country but not in Spokane. The franchise – known as the Shock for the first 10 seasons in arenafootball2 and the Arena Football League and the Empire for two seasons in the Indoor Football League – shuttered last July for financial reasons. The organization’s 12-year run was long by most arena franchise standards, but not long enough for its diehard fans.