Hamburg Huskies remove interim, sign Anthony Rouzier as new head coach

The Hamburg Huskies of the German Football League have promoted Anthony Rouzier to head coach of the team for the 2018 season.

The 30 year old Rouzier, who had been defensive coordinator, took over as Interim head coach with three games left in the 2017 season after Sean Embree was forced to leave suddenly due to personal issues. The team won its final four games of 2017 including a win over German semifinalists, the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes in the last game of the year.

Hamburg Huskies Sports Director Timothy Speckman:

“After Sean Embree left us late last season for important family affairs, Anthony did an incredible job of leading the team to four consecutive victories. That was the reason why he was the top candidate for the position of the head coach in the new season. He is a coach with a lot of football knowledge and a passion for his players, which he shows again and again. I’m sure he will be able to achieve a lot for the Huskies in 2018. “

The negotiations with Rouzier had been going on since mid-August.

Rouzier came to Hamburg from the University of Massachusetts Minutemen where he served for two years as a defensive assistant.

American Football International: You are entering your second season coaching the Huskies but your first as head coach. How does that feel?

Anthony Rouzier: It feels great to move forward as the Head Coach in an official capacity. I’m very thankful that I was able to experience being the Interim Head Coach for the last 3 games this year, as it gave me an indication of the role. Now we can get to work on recruiting the recruiting

AFI: Hamburg is the first team you have coached in Europe. Where did you coach before?

Rouzier: I was the Defensive Coordinator of my High School in Amherst Massachusetts; the Outside Linebacker Coach at Winston Salem State University; and a Defensive Graduate Assistant at my Alma Mater, the University of Massachusetts, assisting the Defensive Backs my first season, and Linebackers in my second season.

AFI:  What are your impressions of football in Europe and your experience as a coach?

Rouzier: There are a lot of talented players here, a number of guys that are sure D1 prospects. Players are DYING to be coached up, they want to be pushed. They appreciate a coach that is relentless in the details of technique and fundamentals, and expects them to bring a dawg mentality to work everyday.

AFI: Have you had a chance to experience other countries in Europe?

Rouzier: One of the greatest parts of the entire experience is the opportunity to travel to different countries. There are so many vastly different cultures and languages in such a small distance. During my time here in 8 months I’ve been to: Austria, Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and a number of different places in Germany. Europe is a fascinating place.

AFI:  What has been the highlight so far in coaching internationally?

Rouzier: The look in our team’s eyes when you knew they believed they could win. Everyone counted the Huskies out and left us for dead, but we just kept believing in the process. We knew it wouldn’t be an overnight success, but we knew that if we stuck together as a family and just focused on becoming the best teammate or coach we can be, the results would eventually manifest — and they did, in a 4 game winning streak to finish out the season.

AFI: You are fairly young as a head coach. You no doubt have players who are older than. How does that feel?

Rouzier: We had a young team this year, and if I’m not mistaken, I was still older than all of our players. But in the event that we have older players next year, it would not bother me. I think when people know that you are genuinely passionate about what you stand for, you have a vision where you are going, you can make them better at their craft, and that you care about them as people, things like age become less important. I look at my age as an asset. Coming directly from Division 1 in the States, I’m adept to how younger players respond most effectively. I also can relate to them in a lot of ways: I’m a big Hip-Hop head, the texting culture is something I grew up in, and for the most part, we view the world from a very similar prism, even though I’m from thousands of miles away.

Having a relationship with my players off of the field is something that I learned from my coaches was extremely important. Players don’t always want to be serious and just talk football, they want to know they can joke with you and enjoy the game. It’s still a game, we can’t forget that.

AFI: What are your expectations for 2018?

Rouzier: It’s a blessing and a privilege to serve as the Head Coach of Hamburg’s only GFL 1 team. So the expectation is that everyone who is a part of the Huskies Organization treats the opportunity to return Hamburg to prominence as a blessing and a privilege. We expect to cherish EVERY opportunity to compete: off season, pre-season and in games.

We are going to fight to put a fence around Hamburg. There’s such an immense amount of talent here in the city and it’s surrounding area. Hamburg’s best need to come together to produce a great product for their City. 30,000 people used to come to games in Hamburg. Expect that we will fight to keep homegrown talent playing for the place that they live and love everyday.

AFI: What do you bring as a head coach?

Rouzier: Passion, competitiveness, grit, and an amazing coaching resource bank. I’ve played for/coached under men who have won: Super Bowls, National Championships, and National Coach of the Year honors. I’ve learned from some of the best leaders and tacticians the game has to offer. If I can be half as good of a coach as they are, then I’ve had a great career.

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