SALT LAKE CITY –The Utah Blaze announced today the replacement of the former Blaze coaching staff with new coaches, who will be lead by new Head Coach Ron James. James and his staff will replace former Head Coach Ernesto Purnsley, for the remainder of the season.
James will fulfill the roles of Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator, while Jermaine Younger and Jeff Hoffman will serve OL/DL Coach and Defensive Coordinator, respectively.
On Wednesday, July 9, 2008, James was promoted to the head coaching position of the Blaze, replacing Danny White. Due to the hiatus of the AFL, James never officially logged a game as the head coach of the Blaze. Prior to his promotion, James completed his second season with the Blaze as the Defensive Coordinator and Director of Player Personnel and 11th season in the Arena Football League.
James was the Head Coach of the Las Vegas Gladiators (now Cleveland Gladiators) for two seasons (2005, 2006). In 2005, his team led the AFL in total offense and team defense, and set 14 new offensive and defensive team records. Prior to being named head coach of Las Vegas, James was the assistant head coach/OL/DL/Special Teams coach of the Gladiators for three seasons. Before joining the Gladiators, he was the line coach for the Houston ThunderBears and Director of Player Personnel from 1999-2001. He also was an assistant coach with the Albany Firebirds from 1990-91.
Younger joins the Blaze after serving as the OL/DL Line Coach and Special Teams Coordinator for the Albany Conquest of the af2 in 2008. He is also an 8-year AFL veteran as FB/LB (New Jersey, New England, Toronto, Las Vegas, Georgia and Utah).
Hoffman most recently served as the northwest regional scout for the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL. He also was the Head Coach of the Albany Conquest of the af2 in 2008. Hoffman began his career in 1997 with the New Jersey Red Dogs of the AFL, where he spent time as the Special Teams Coach, Director of Player Personnel and Football Operations. Hoffman has also served as a Player Personnel Assistant (N.Y. Giants, 2001), Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator (St. Peters College, 2003), Special Teams Coach (Columbus Destroyers, 2005), Assistant Head Coach and Director of Football Operations (Albany Conquest, 2007).
The Blaze will be holding a press conference this evening, Tuesday, June 1, at the Murray Bajio from 6-7 p.m. New Blaze head coach Ron James and general manager Steve Videtich will be available for interviews. The address is 4361 South State Street, Murray, UT. The Blaze Coach’s Show with 1280 The Zone will take place from 7-8 p.m. (MT).
The Blaze hit the road this week to take on the Cleveland Gladiators on Friday, June 4, with kickoff at 6:30 p.m. (MT). The game will be broadcast live on Utah’s flagship station, 1280 The Zone. The game can also be viewed online through NiftyTV. The following week, the Blaze will return home to Single-game tickets can be purchased through www.ticketmaster.com. Group and season tickets are also available by calling 888-99BLAZE or information can be found at www.utblaze.com.