In the second year of the Augusta Stallions franchise, the team will go to its second Mike.
At a press conference at the Clubhouse on Thursday afternoon, former South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Mike Hold was introduced as the Stallions' head coach. Darrell Harbin was introduced as general manager.
"I was extremely impressed with (Hold) when I met him," said Stallions team owner Frank Lawrence, who interviewed only Hold for the job. "He understands the offense, and this is an offensive game."
Hold, who quarterbacked the Gamecocks from 1983-85, led South Carolina to its best season ever in 1984 when the team went 10-2. He was named most valuable player of the Gator Bowl that season.
Hold was a backup quarterback for the Arena Football League's Houston ThunderBears under coach Steve Thonn the past three years. Last season, Houston led the league in total offense with 316 yards per game.
The 37-year-old Hold has no previous head coaching experience. However, he said his role as a backup has prepared him.
"I don't have any titled coaching experience," he said. "My last four years in the Arena League I've been in a backup role. Primarily, I was there to be another assistant coach."
Lawrence said he hopes Hold's Columbia ties will help Lawrence Sports secure an af2 franchise there.
"We're going to have camps (in Columbia) and tryouts there," he said. "We think that's a great connection."
Harbin takes the reins as the team's new general manager. For the past four years, he worked with the AFL's Nashville Kats as a sponsorship-marketing executive, game-day assistant and as director of sales and game-day operations.
Harbin will have the challenge of trying to sell out Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, something the team couldn't do in 10 games last season. He said the team would make more personal appearances, have different themes for each game and tailgate outside before the games.
"Nashville went 13-3 and won the conference in its first year, and we didn't fill the arena up, either," Harbin said. "We're going to be visible in the public and hopefully get them excited about coming in here."
NOTES: Former Augusta Stallions wide receiver/defensive back Calvin Ceasar has signed to play with the Milwaukee Mustangs of the Arena Football League.
Ceasar led the American Conference champs with three-net recovery touchdowns and was the third-leading receiver with 43 receptions for 526 yards and seven touchdowns in 16 regular-season games.
He becomes the sixth former Stallion to sign with an AFL team. The others include Aaron Sparrow (Buffalo), A.J. Blum (Orlando), Nick Rawls (Orlando), R.J. Anderson (Tampa Bay) and Matt Kinsinger (Houston).
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222.
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