ELF: Hamburg Sea Devils sign Charles Jones as new HC

The Hamburg Sea Devils have announced the signing of top NCAA coach Charles “Yogi” Jones, as their new head coach.

“Yogi Jones is a proven football expert,” General Manager Max Paatz said in an official press release following the blockbuster signing. “Together with our coaching staff, I am sure he will once again turn Hamburg into a top team.”

Jones, the 61-year-old native of Donora, Pennsylvania, has a resume that is impressive to say the least. He has coached football at varying levels since 1984, where he began as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Pittsburgh. He also previously served as the linebackers coach for the Hamburg Sea Devils in 2007, which was the final year of NFL Europe.

Jones spent the past 11 years on the sideline with the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, (NCAA Division I FCS), as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. Considered by many as one of the nation’s best defensive minds in the game of football, he helped mold the BCU defense into one of the best in the FCS for years. Each year under Jones’ tutelage, excluding 2011, BCU’s yards-per-carry statistic lowered from the year prior. During his tenure, the Wildcats ranked in the top-25 across the board in a number of categories and accumulated five conference & co-conference championships.

“When someone gives up a longtime leadership role in NCAA Division I to coach for us, it’s a clear statement of the value of the European League of Football and European football,” Paatz said.

“Put the ball down and let’s go,” Jones says as he looks to bring a championship culture to the Sea Devils. “It won’t be decisive for my team where, against whom or when we play. Whether we play on asphalt or grass. As long as we do our best, we will leave the field as winners.”

Despite his extensive background working primarily on the defensive side of the ball, Jones looks to bring excellence to the entire team in his first run as a head coach.

“I ask my boys to work hard and be there for each other,” said Jones. “The offensive players will make the defensive players better and vice versa. If you work for each other, then I’m happy. Or as they say: ‘Iron sharpens Iron’. We need to build on those fundamentals to get stronger and start a successful season.”

The Sea Devils delivered an impressive campaign in 2021, which was the first season of the European League of Football. They reached the championship game before falling to the Frankfurt Galaxy 32-30 as the potential game-winning 62-yard field goal attempt from the all-star kicker Phillip Friis Anderson fell short of the goal post.

Jones and the Sea Devils will look to repeat their previous deep run this season, boasting the easiest strength of schedule amongst the teams this season.



Trevyn Gray is a fourth-year student at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, where he is pursuing a degree in Journalism (AB) with a concentration in Sports Media.