Tampa - The Tampa Bay Storm has named Storm great and Arena Football League Hall of Fame member Lawrence Samuels the sixth head coach in franchise history, team president Derrick Brooks announced.
"We are happy to introduce Lawrence as our head coach," said Brooks. "Lawrence has been a staple of the Storm franchise since joining the team in 1994.
He has spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator. We believe that he is ready to make the next step and take the reins as the team's head coach."
"I cannot imagine being the head coach of any other team," said Samuels. "I want to thank Derrick Brooks, Jeff Vinik, and the Storm organization for giving me this opportunity. I look forward to getting to work and helping the Storm win its sixth ArenaBowl Championship."
This will be Samuels's first season as the head coach of the Storm.
He spent the previous two seasons as the team's assistant coach and offensive coordinator.
Under his direction the team saw a vast improvement on the offensive end, finishing the 2013 season in the top-5 of several offensive categories including total offense and rushing offense.
Prior to joining the Storm coaching staff in 2011, Samuels spent two seasons as the wide receivers coach for Central State University (Wilberforce, OH).
He was also a wide receivers coach for the USA Football summer camps sponsored by the National Football League, where he helped teach the fundamentals and skills necessary to be an effective wide receiver and defensive back.
Samuels served two stints as the wide receivers coach for his alma mater, the University of West Alabama.
He spent 15 seasons with the Storm as a player and was a member of three ArenaBowl Championship teams.
The legendary AFL Ironman starred at both the wide receiver and linebacker positions, and finished his career as the franchise leader in receptions (967), receiving yards (11,078), receiving touchdowns (160), points scored (1,076), fumble recoveries (32), forced fumbles (20) and tackles (455.5). He was the first player in AFL history to record 1,000 receptions; the sixth player ever in professional football history to reach that milestone.
Samuels was elected to the 2013 Arena Football Hall of Fame Class this past season.