Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Soul walk the Plank

PHILADELPHIA  – The Philadelphia Soul have announced that two-time Arena Football League Coach of the Year, Doug Plank, has been named as the head coach effective immediately.  Per League and team rules, terms are not disclosed.

In Plank's first four years as an AFL head coach, he won more games in that period to start a career than any other coach in the history of the AFL.  He posted an overall record of 47-25 (43-21 regular season and a 4-4 postseason) from 2005-08, which included a trip to ArenaBowl XIX.

“We are excited to bring in a guy like Doug Plank to put us on a championship path immediately,” said Soul co-majority owner and current ESPN Monday Night Football broadcaster, Ron Jaworski.  “Doug is a tough-nosed, blue-collar Pennsylvania guy that is a perfect fit for the Soul and the city of Philadelphia.  He has a proven track record and is well respected on all levels of football.  With Doug here, we look forward to hoisting the championship trophy in Philadelphia again.”

“Something that I have in common with the entire city of Philadelphia is an extreme passion for football,” said Plank.  “My style is to always give a 100 percent in everything I do and that is the type of mentality that we will be looking for from our entire organization.  With that philosophy and mindset, I am confident that we – as a team – will bring a championship to Philadelphia.”

In 2001, Plank began his coaching career as the Arizona Rattlers’ defensive coordinator for three seasons under former Dallas Cowboys QB Danny White.  During that time, the Rattlers made it to three consecutive ArenaBowls.  In 2004, Plank was hired by Atlanta Falcons owner, Arthur Blank, to be head coach of the Georgia Force.  Plank was named the AFL's Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2007 as he led Georgia to the playoffs each year and ArenaBowl XIX in his first year at the helm in 2005.

Plank was born in Greensburg, PA and is a former safety and coach in the National Football League.  He spent his entire eight-year NFL playing career with the Chicago Bears.  Plank was the first Bears’ rookie to lead the team in tackles, after being drafted out of Ohio State University.  He participated in three consecutive Rose Bowls under legendary coach Woody Hayes.  He attended Norwin School District in North Huntingdon, PA.

Plank was a favorite of Bears defensive coordinator and former Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Buddy Ryan for his hard hitting and aggressive style, so that he named his defense the “46 defense” after Plank's jersey number.  Plank was considered one of the hardest hitting safeties in the game.  Plank and Gary Fencik were dubbed “The Hit Men”, a fact referenced by Fencik in 1985's The Super Bowl Shuffle.

In 2008, he was a seasonal assistant on the Atlanta Falcons staff, with the Falcons playing in the first round of the playoffs that season.  In 2009, he served as the assistant defensive backfield coach for the New York Jets under head coach Rex Ryan, the son of Plank's former defensive coordinator, Buddy Ryan.  In 2010, Plank became a football program assistant at Ohio State.  The Buckeyes earned a share of the Big 10 title with an 11-1 record and beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.

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