BILLING — The year-end goal is always to win a league championship.
However, the Billings Outlaws will first need to hire a new head football coach.
The team, which was coached by Brian Schmidt and later Theo Johnson when Schmidt went on sick leave, recently ended its turbulent first year with an 8-4 record after a 26-14 loss at Salina, Kansas. in Champions Indoor Football. Championship semi-finals on June 18.
On Saturday, Outlaws owner Steven Titus said he was opening a national search to find the franchise’s next coach.
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Johnson and Schmidt, who returned to the Outlaws in a limited capacity to help call offensive plays and as a special consultant the final two weeks of the season, were not fired but their contracts with the Outlaws expired at the end of the season. They are both welcome to apply for the head coaching job, Titus said.
“There are a lot of great coaches out there and we want to see which coaches are interested in coming to Billings and leading us to championships,” Titus told The Billings Gazette and 406mtsports.com.
On the Outlaws team website, the criteria that Titus and general manager Kerry Locklin are looking for for Billings’ next head coach are detailed.
Among the qualifications are “the ambition and skills to create a championship-winning football program at Billings” and successful experience as a head coach/assistant head coach in arena/indoor, professional or college.
The incoming coach will also manage the overall program budget, help the Outlaws team integrate into the Billings community, and coordinate team travel and operations based on posting on the Outlaws website.
Applications must be submitted by July 9, in-person interviews will take place in Billings the week of July 25, and Titus hopes to have a head coach chosen by the week of August 1.
Those interested in applying should visit billingsindoorfootball.com for more information.
It’s been a whirlwind for those involved with the Outlaws franchise over the past two months, starting with Johnson who became the expansion team’s interim head coach in early May when Schmidt went on sick leave. .
After Billings fell to Sioux City, Iowa, 49-42, on May 30 at MetraPark’s First Interstate Arena in a battle for the top spot in CIF, it was learned that Pick Six Entertainment had sold the Outlaws earlier in the season. the month to Titus. .
What had just been revealed in that Memorial Day game was that Pick Six was embroiled in controversy – and not just Billings.
After agreeing to buy the Outlaws at Pick Six, Titus was originally set to take control of the team this summer. It turned out to be faster than that, however, after the Rapid City Journal reported on May 30 that the Rapid City Marshals of CIF, a team that had recently been sold by Pick Six, had been asked to leave their team hotel due to unpaid invoices by Pick Six. The Journal also reported that multiple sources alleged unpaid wages and bounced checks issued by Pick Six. After the Journal article, the same kinds of allegations began to surface in Billings vs. Pick Six.
A day after the Outlaws’ loss to the Bandits, the CIF briefly assumed the day-to-day operations of the Outlaws and Marshals, and Titus was approved as owner of Billings’ team on June 2.
On the field, the Outlaws qualified for the playoffs, but Titus said that during his short period of ownership of the team he observed some “issues that I have to address” and “there have been cases that I found disturbing”.
During the Outlaws’ 49-40 CIF first-round playoff win over Wyoming on June 11 at the Sports Plex, Titus noted that three offensive players shouted obscenities towards the coaches box while questioning the play of the ‘crew.
In Salina the following week, things got worse. Titus said an Outlaws offensive lineman hit another offensive lineman while both were on the sidelines and security had to deal with the situation. He also said that an offensive player left the field with a few minutes left in the game and did not finish the game.
“What’s embarrassing for the organization is that Salina commentators said it looked like we were falling apart quickly,” Titus said.
“I understand it’s an emotional game and the pressure is high, but it showed we weren’t a team and we weren’t ready for the Billings Outlaws,” Titus added.
Titus said the next manager should be able to bring ‘synergy from both sides of the ball’ and special teams.
“We need everyone to be the Billings Outlaws, not offense, not defense or special teams,” he said. “When things got tough we fell apart and that’s because we had a bunch of ‘I’s in the team.”
With an “incredible market” and loyal fans, Titus believes the pieces are in Billings for the Outlaws to succeed. He said he was committed to ensuring the Outlaws had the resources and equipment necessary to succeed.
“We went out and did what it took to do our best in Billings,” he said.
That includes winning a championship and Titus believes that with the right coach, the Outlaws can achieve that goal.
“I want this team to succeed and win championships,” he said.
Email Gazette Sports editor John Letasky at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsJohnL