ELF Coaching Upheaval: Munich Ravens, Raiders Tirol fire HCs despite winning seasons

A pair of Central Conference teams have opted for a coaching overhaul this week, as the Munich Ravens and Raiders Tirol announced the departure of head coaches John Shoop and Kevin Herron, respectively.

On Wednesday, the Ravens announced that head coach John Shoop, as well as defensive coordinator Vince Okruch, will not be returning to the team next season.  It was an unexpected announcement, as the Ravens finished with a 7-5 record, which was the best record out of any expansion franchise in 2023.  After getting off to a 2-3 start, the team finished strong, rallying to win 5 ofive their last seven games.  All of their losses this season came at the hands of the Raiders Tirol, Rhein Fire, and Stuttgart Surge, all of which finished 8-4 or better.  Still, though, the Ravens thought an overhaul of the coaching staff was needed heading into next season.

Ravens general manager Sebastian Stolz commented on the decision:

“It became clear that the franchise management and John Shoop have different views on the vision and sporting direction of the Munich Ravens.  For this reason, we came to the difficult decision not to offer John Shoop a new contract.  We thank him very much for his hard work, tireless dedication and passion.” 

It will be interesting to see whether Americans Shoop or Okruch remain in the ELF next season, and whether the Ravens will choose to hire an American or a European as their next head coach.

The Raiders Tirol announced on Thursday the decision to relieve longtime head coach Kevin Herron of his duties.  Herron originally joined the franchise in 2011 and coached for four years.  After a couple of years away, he rejoined the team in 2017 and was named head coach in 2019.  Under Herron’s guidance, the team has had plenty of success, from their many years in the Austrian Football League to their time in the European League of Football.  In their first year in the ELF, in 2022, the Raiders made the playoffs as the lone wild card spot.  In 2023, they finished 8-4, but missed out on the playoffs on a points differential tiebreaker.  Despite a relatively successful season, the Raiders, like the Ravens, decided to make a big change.

The Raiders finished the season with a solid record of 8-4, but, by the end of the season, decided to move on from their starting quarterback, best receiver, and head coach.  After starting out 6-2, the team notoriously let go of quarterback Christian Strong, a move which also resulted in the departure of receiver Jarvis McClam.  It is unclear how much of that decision was Herron’s, but, in any case, it was a poor decision that may have cost the franchise a chance to return to the playoffs.  Now, the Innsbruck-based team will have to pick up the pieces and bring in fresh faces for next season.

If these moves have told us anything, it is that some teams will not hesitate to make major changes despite having some level of success on the field.  We can be sure that more coaching changes will be on the way this offseason.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.