KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- The Knoxville Nighthawks have found their man.
Southern Sports and Entertainment has announced that veteran arena football coach Chris MacKeown will lead the Nighthawks into their inaugural Professional Indoor Football League season.
"We had several qualified candidates for the position, but in the end Chris was the best fit," SSE chief executive officer Jeff Knight said.
"Chris's organizational skills and successful experience were what we were looking for."
In twelve full seasons of coaching professional football MacKeown’s teams have made the playoffs nine times, played in five conference championships, and one championship game.
"I am thrilled at this opportunity and also flattered that Mr. Knight and Mr. (Joe) Stroud chose and have trusted me to start this team and get it on the right path,'' said MacKeown, who served as head coach and director of football operations of the Indoor Football League's Allen (Texas) Wranglers last season.
"I have three goals for the program. The first is winning the PIFL championship. The second is putting a team of men together that Knoxville and all of East Tennessee can be proud of both on and off the field. And third is the promotion of our players and coaches to a higher level such as the NFL and Canadian Football League."
Under MacKeown the Wranglers finished 12-5 last season, won the Lone Star Conference division title and played in the Intense Conference championship game.
He also served as the offensive coordinator for the Colorado Crush of the AFL in 2009 after leading arenafootball2's Amarillo Dusters to their best record in team history, and their first ever appearance in the National Conference ArenaCup finals. In '07, MacKeown was named special teams coordinator and wide receiver coach for the AFL’s Austin Wranglers and served in the same role for the AFL's Columbus Destroyers a year prior.
Other head coaching stops have included the Louisville Fire ('04-05) and Cincinnati Swarm ('03) in af2, and assistant duties with the AFL's Indiana Firebirds and IFL's Dayton (Ohio) Skyhawks.
A Dayton native, MacKeown graduated from Toledo in '91 and earned a Masters Degree from Dayton in '01.
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