Sharks make two key hiring moves for 2023 coaching staff
September 12, 2022 – National Arena League (NAL) – Jacksonville Sharks Press Release
JACKSONVILLE, FL – The Jacksonville Sharks start the week by hiring two legendary players to join the 2023 Sharks coaching staff. Damian Daniels, former Columbus Lions coach and Hall of Fame defensive back, is the latest coach to join the Jacksonville Sharks staff as the new defensive coordinator for the Sharks. As a player, Daniels led the Lions with 96 career steals and a total of 117 steals in arena football before retiring. Daniels finished his playing career as a five-time Defensive Player of the Year; he also helped the team to three NAL Championship appearances in four seasons. As a Hall of Famer for the Lions, Daniels spent over nine seasons with Columbus, helping them win multiple championships. Daniels & Gibson propelled the Lions to their fifth consecutive NAL playoff appearance last season (most in NAL history), as the Lions finished the regular season 7-5. Damien Daniels served as the defensive coordinator for the Lions where his defense led NAL in the fewest points allowed.
In another major move, Coach Gibson is securing a household name within the Shark Nation by retaining Coach Charlie Hunt. Coach Hunt is a legendary shark who has spent the majority of his playing and coaching career in the arena with the organization. The former Sharks All-NAL player and veteran coach will return to the Sharks staff for his fourth season on the sidelines. Hunt served last season as the team’s offensive assistant and special teams coordinator; this season, he will step into his new role under head coach Jason Gibson as the team’s receivers/linebackers coach. Hunt played JLB/WR for several seasons for the Sharks in the NAL and AFL. In 2017, Hunt helped the Sharks as a player to their first ever NAL Championship, while also being personally named 2017 Defensive Player of the Year. Coach Hunt currently lives in the Jacksonville Beach area and is the offensive coordinator for the Episcopal high school. Hunt played high school football here as a star athlete at Christian University, where he later played at Florida State University.
Coach Gibson’s Sharks coaching staff is now made up of former star players in the sport as the Sharks announced the return of coach Clay Harrell last week, who was an AFL star fullback and Arena Bowl champion. Hiring coaches who were not just athletes but star players in their positions is no coincidence, as even Coach Gibson had a long and successful career as a player who played at the both receiver and defensive back. Gibson, as an athlete, had the opportunity to play in the CFL, GFL and AF2. Having former players as coaches can be a major advantage for Jacksonville, not only in player development, but also in success on the playing field. This strategy is not a new phenomenon, as many football programs FBS and FCS colleges as well as NFL teams have turned to hiring former players into high-level coaching positions.
The Jacksonville Sharks plan to kick off their sixth NAL season in the spring of 2023. In October the Sharks will be hosting tryouts, athletes interested in the opportunity can go to jaxsharks.com/tryouts. The Sharks along with the entire NAL will enter open free agency in November, where Jacksonville will have the opportunity to sign players from across the league in preparation for the 2023 season.
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