EXCLUSIVE: Interview with SF Storm coach Kurtiss Riggs Feb 19, 2018 14:53:05 GMT -8
Post by Drew Galyardt on Feb 19, 2018 14:53:05 GMT -8
Storm HC Kurtiss Riggs (photo courtesy mantalitymag.com)
SCtoC Media Contact:
Hello everyone! I'm very happy to be back and writing for the site again. It seems like it's been a really long time, and I'm happy to continue being a part of the site.
I interviewed Sioux Falls Head Coach, Kurtiss Riggs, about the upcoming season. Below is the written interview. I hope you all enjoy!
DG- For the first time in seven seasons, the Storm is not coming into the season as the defending IFL champions. The team was the top dog for several years. Do you at all feel like an underdog coming into the 2018 season?
KR- “No. *Chuckles* I wouldn’t look at it like that. We look at it as a new team, new season. We won 5 in a row last year, but for us, we didn’t play well enough to win the championship. We didn’t deserve it, and we didn’t complete the season.”
- How are you preparing the team to get back to the United Bowl, and re-gain the status of champion?
“We just have to prepare the team for AZ. We look at it every year like we have 1 goal, and that’s to get in the championship game and win a title for our fans. We run into issues when we think we’re going to just walk in and do that. We have to work hard on keeping extremely focused on week 1 and taking down the defending champions.”
- As you are winding down training camp, can you tell us a little about the team which has been assembled? Can you describe the mixture of youth and experience?
“We do have a lot of youth. We have guys that as the season progresses, are going to be really good. They’re really talented and will help us and probably even have a shot at moving up. We are hoping some of our veteran guys try to help them and keep them in check, fix their mistakes and help them along as we go game to game.”
- The team had some returning players, but you've added some pieces. Can you describe what type of players you were looking for to round out this season's team?
“Right now, we still aren’t a complete team, we’re still looking for guys that we feel like fit the mold. Right now we are playing with guys that are very talented but may not fit our mold. We have to either change our philosophy to fit around them, or find other guys that fit our style. Right now at camp, that’s what allows us to do. We have some new guys like Lawrence Marton,is a very good player. He may play some tackle, he may play some center. Either way he’s extremely athletic. Judd Harold who’s a wide receiver. I could go on and on naming guys, but those are two guys that have really stood out in camp.”
- The Storm have one of the larger coaching staffs in the league. How do you manage that, and oversee each coach's responsibility for the betterment of the team?
"My D-coordinator, Brian Hermanson, we’ve been together a long time. I fully trust him to take care of the defense and the defensive staff. That’s part of our success. We have a group of guys that knows everyone accepts their role and I can trust them doing that and it starts with him.”
- It's been a roller coaster off-season. The Storm leaving, then returned Wichita Falls and Spokane folded. The Project FANchise teams folded and left. The Bloomington Edge and West Michigan Ironmen are delayed from joining the IFL. All things considered how do you feel about the state of the IFL overall?
“I’ve been doing this for quite some time, and those type of things I kind of just take in stride. Nothing really surprises me in the offseason anymore. You can look at the state of any indoor league, I think at any time could be in question, an owner could just be like, “I’m done”. Or if he steps out of the indoor game. It could affect all of the other teams. I’ve never put any eggs in the basket of, there’s any security in the indoor game. It was an up and down offseason, but it seems like that’s always the case.”
- The IFL has a couple of innovations which not all other indoor/arena teams don't feature. The first is that all games are being televised on YouTube for free. The second is the instant replay review system announced this year. Can you tell us a little about your perspectives on these aspects of the league?
“YouTube live is great. At times it could prevent people from coming to games though. It’s so good and the quality is so good, that some people could just stay home and watch the games. But it is a great resource, and I know where we really see a difference is that scouts are able to just watch and then be able to contact us. The replay, we were the one team in the league that used that. The iPad system, it was fantastic. Everyone asked us how it worked and it was fantastic. I thought that this is something that we can utilize. It’s something that is progressing, and I think hopefully it doesn’t slow the game down. That would be my one fear.”
- You've been at this for quite some time; 16 years now as head coach with the Storm? How do you compare the beginning of your coaching career with where the team is now?
“It has changed so much. Recruiting used to just be local athletes that just wanted to play football. Very few had pro aspirations. That’s not even close to the case anymore. We have very few midwest athletes anymore that make the team. The talent is better. The following is stronger. It is totally different now than it was when I started.”
- How has that longevity helped you and the team achieve the success you and the Storm have enjoyed?
“The longevity has happened due to the winning. I would be naive to say that if I wasn’t winning, then I wouldn’t be here as long as I have been. The two owners I’ve had and both were awesome. The Vucurevich family were tremendous. They gave me my first shot and just let me coach. And that carried over to Todd Tryon. We played together, I had him on my coaching staff, and he became the owner. He too, just trusts me to just be able to coach. Those two owners are the cause to our success, just allowing us to be a football organization and not for the purpose of them to just make money.”
- The Storm have a terrific following among their fans and in the community. Could you touch on what that means to you, the staff, the coaches and the team?
“It’s the reason we are still here. The fans got us through the tough times. When we moved from the old arena to the new arena, it brought in a new crowd. Our front office have done a great job with a new family oriented crowd and done a great job to shift the focus to fit a new crowd.”
- The IFL features an amazing stream of philanthropy by players, coaches and teams. How important is that to give back to the community for you?
“It was probably 4 years ago where I was teaching at a high school and one of my fellow teachers, her daughter was diagnosed with a terminal illness. We went all out to help them, it had been a long battle. It was really amazing what we did. We raised over $80,000 for them. It was unbelievable how the community came together, and we thought “We can do some great things with this” So we started doing it every game. Tough part though is which ones do tell yes to and which ones do you tell no, and that’s what’s been really a struggle for us. How do we help, and how do we help everyone?”
- Is there anything else you would like our audience to know?
“I think fans will continue to see another great year of football. Iowa will be good. Green Bay will be good. Nebraska will be good. I think you’ll see a lot of competitive games and hopefully we can be in there contending again”
The Storm start their season this Sunday against the defending champion, the Arizona Rattlers.
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