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INDOOR FOOTBALL: Axemen name new GM/head coach

BEMIDJI — Bemidji Axemen news was leaked Sunday in the seventh graph of a Patrick Reusse column on the team.

In Reusse’s column about the team heading into its third season in the Indoor Football League, he writes “The owners have hired Richard Davis, an indoor football and coaching veteran, to be the general manager and fourth head coach (including one interim) for the Axemen.”.

Davis is in fact the fourth head coach in the team’s two year history, but he plans on sticking around Bemidji.

“I was looking to get back into professional football and still be a dad,” Davis said. “This is a community I feel strongly that I can raise my children.”

The hire marks another restart for the franchise who is not only down to its fourth head coach in three seasons, but he is also the second general manager and will be working with an ownership group who has stated it will look to add a new owner in the mix.

Not to mention, on the field the team is 7-21 and has trotted out at least seven different starting quarterbacks, including five last season.

Robert Fuller was the first head coach in team history and went 5-9 in his only season.

After a change in ownership the team decided for a change in leadership and made Dixie Wooten the new head coach. Wooten was Fuller’s defensive coordinator and had interim coaching experience as he went 4-2 as head coach of the Allen Wranglers.

After going 2-8 Wooten was let go and Lee Patten was named the interim head coach and went 0-4 in the final four games of the seasons.

Also at the beginning of the season Adam Barnhardt was named the team’s general manager. After the season ended Barnhardt told the Pioneer the team would return for a third season, not long after he announced he was resigning as the general manager and was leaving the team.

Barnhardt’s departure left owners Nate Coffin, Dan Skaug and Phil Sallberg without a coach or general manager. The group killed two birds with one stone on hiring Davis in both roles.

“I felt they are in this for the right reasons,” Davis said. “They are in this for the community.”

Davis has worked in many capacities in the Arena Football League as a general manager and coach from 1999-2009.

He also served as a Vice President of Football Operations for the San Antonio Texas of the Canadian Football League.

Davis was also on the original board of the Arena Football 2 league, which was a developmental league for Arena Football.

“I watched the beginnings and lived it,” Davis said.

He served as an assistant coach for the University of Connecticut after graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma.

Before graduating from Central Oklahoma, Davis played at the junior college level for Cisco Junior College and Rocky Mountain College.

Along with coaching, Davis helped start up Player-Direct-Digital Sports Video which ended up being bought out by Hudl.

“During my break away from football I could study the IFL from a coaching experience,” Davis said. “In the Arena League teams pass the ball every play and it’s about who has more talent. The IFL you can play defense. This league gives you more strategical differences.”

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