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Spokane Empire

Shock have interviewed three for vacant coaching spot

The Spokane Shock have interviewed three candidates for their head coaching position and plan on visiting with at least one more.

The Shock interviewed current offensive coordinator Andy Olson, former offensive coordinator Matt Sauk and veteran arena football coach Chris MacKeown, majority owner Brady Nelson said. Team owners also have received permission to talk to Chicago offensive coordinator Sherdrick Bonner.

Olson was interviewed last weekend. Owners visited with Sauk by telephone last weekend and they were scheduled to meet Sauk for a face-to-face interview Wednesday in Salt Lake City as they returned from Arena Football League meetings in Phoenix. Shock officials visited with MacKeown on Wednesday.

Sauk and Olson “are probably the top two candidates,” said Nelson, adding that others could still emerge.

Spokane is replacing Rob Keefe, whose contract wasn’t renewed after going 25-13 in two seasons.

Nelson was impressed with Olson, who joined the Shock in Week 3 as offensive coordinator in his first season as a coach, and Sauk, who was Spokane’s offensive coordinator in 2010 before directing Utah’s offense last season.

“Both are great coaches,” Nelson said. “We would have no problems on offense, both have good offensive minds. They both have different attributes.”

MacKeown was head coach at arenafootball2 Cincinnati in 2003, af2 Amarillo in 2008 and the IFL Allen (Texas) Wranglers last season. The Wranglers lost to Tri-Cities, coached by former Shock head coach Adam Shackleford, in the conference championship game. MacKeown’s Amarillo team lost to Spokane in the 2008 af2 playoffs.

MacKeown assisted in the AFL with Indiana in 2001-02, Columbus in 2006 and he was hired as offensive coordinator at Colorado in 2009 before the AFL season was canceled.

Bonner, one of the best quarterbacks in AFL history, helped Arizona reach five ArenaBowl games, winning twice. He joined the coaching ranks last season with Chicago, which was forced to use three quarterbacks because of injuries. The Rush lost to Arizona in the National Conference championship game.

“He’s a great human being, he’s motivated and he wants to be the best coach out there,” Rush head coach Bob McMillen said. “He knows arena football. He’s been around it 20 years. I think he’s ready” for a head coaching job.

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