E.T. Warriors announce new coaches

from staff reports
Former Tennessee Tech and Tusculum College linebacker, James W. Spears IV, has accepted the position of head coach for the AFL Men's Semi-Pro Football Championship team, the East Tennessee Warriors.
After a successful high school career at Gibbs High School in Knoxville, he played at Tennessee Tech and lettered at Tusculum College during the mid-1990s.
Coach Spears has spent the last five years as a special assistant at Gibbs, in addition to being a volunteer coach.
His duties have included scouting opponents, and helping organize the Gibbs lettermen's club.
In addition, he has built and maintains the Gibbs football website.
Coach Spears is excited to begin the new season and build on the success of last year's team.
Also coming on board as defensive coordinator is Stanley Webb, an all-state linebacker at Patrick Henry Glade Springs High School in 1988-89. He was also named as a "Street & Smith" All-American OLB honorable mention.
He then attended Wake Forest University, where he was named Defense Rookie of the year and made the All-ACC Freshman Defense first team in 1989 under Coach Bill Dooley. A spinal injury ended a promising career the following season.
Both men bring maturity, character, leadership, skills and administrative ability to the table, as well as a keen knowledge of the game. The Warriors are extremely thrilled to have them both on board for the upcoming season.
The Warriors went undefeated in league play last year, were ranked as high as No. 4 in the Eastern Football Association, and qualified for the first round of the EFA national playoffs.
During the 2002 season, scouts from both the Arena League and NFL attended several league games looking for hidden talent.
Offers were made to several AFL players from the Arena League, the Indoor league, and one of the Warriors was given an offer to try out for Assindia Cardinals of the GFL (Germany Football League), but he chose to accept a football scholarship from a college in West Virginia.
Because none of the league's players are paid, their eligibility is protected if they get an offer to play college ball. Last year's team had several players that, as high school seniors, were recruited by colleges like UT, Notre Dame, ETSU and others, but for various reasons, they didn't accept the offers.
Some players on the 2002 team had families, jobs and other responsibilities, and they weren't able to follow their dream of "playing on the collegiate level."
Others were already excelling in college, had earned academic scholarships, and preferred the less-demanding practice schedule (two days a week) over the extensive time demanded by college football.
Still others knew that realistically, they didn't have the ability to progress to the next level, but still loved the game enough to pay the price to compete.
General Manager Gordon Littleford (whose father Hal played at UT and coached at ETSU) said that he was pleasantly surprised at the high quality of athletes that played for the Warriors in their initial season, and that he is very excited about building upon last year's success to reach greater goals in 2003.
The Warriors 2003 season will be an exciting and more challenging 10-game schedule since the league has expanded to eight teams that stretch from Knoxville to Wise County, Va.
They are currently recruiting more players to fill positions from the attrition of last year's roster. Any interested player is urged to contact Mr. Littleford or Coach Spears at the phone numbers listed below. Tryouts and practices are currently being held at Indian Trail Middle School in Johnson City.
The registration fee for new players is only $25 and there is a refundable uniform and pads deposit of $75.
Orders for the 2003 season tickets are being taken with great savings for fans that purchase before July 31.
The team cannot overemphasize the need for involvement by the business and professional leaders of the Johnson City/Washington County area to help represent the East Tennessee region.
For that reason, the opportunity will be open for area businesses to become sponsoring partners or advertisers in the media guide and at all the home games. Anyone who is interested in further information can contact a Warrior representative at 423-773-4935 or 423-926-3759.