As announced earlier this week, the Frankfurt Universe, German semifinalists in 2017 and quarterfinalists in 2016, have released head coach Markus Grahn after three years as head coach and almost 10 years with the club.
Grahn had fashioned a remarkable record in the past three seasons as the team ascended into the upper echelons of football in Germany to become one of the best teams in Europe.
Under his guidance, the Universe/Galaxy went undefeated in 2015, their final year in the German Football League’s second division. Easily qualifying for the GFL, Grahn led his team to a 12-2 regular season in 2016 in the first year in Germany’s top division, reaching the quarterfinals. This year, the team took a step closer reaching the semifinals, losing in a thriller to the New Yorker Lions. His overall regular season record in those three years was 38-4.
This past season, Frankfurt had the best defense in Germany (tied with Braunschewig) and the third best offense, despite having four different quarterbacks. Frankfurt started the year with Mike Wegzyn and went through Danny Collins, Sonny Weishaupt and finished the final 10 games with Jaleel Awini. Which makes the team’s success on offense all the more amazing.
Grahn has completed a unique quadruple. As a coach, he has won four major titles. With the Braunschweig Lions he won the German Bowl and Eurobowl as wide receivers coach, he was tight ends and special teams coach with the World Bowl winning Frankfurt Galaxy in NFL Europe and as head coach of the Universe captured the European Football League title in 2016.
The Universe looked poised to challenge for the trophy in 2018. So why fire one of the most successful head coaches in Germany in the past three years?
Frankfurt Managing Director Michael Schwarzer released a statement:
“We thank Markus Grahn for everything he has done for purple football in Frankfurt. He was an essential part of the great development our organization. For the future sporting orientation we decided to make changes in the coaching staff. We wish Markus all the best for his professional and personal future.”
A question to the club for more details on the firing went unanswered. Grahn himself was tight lipped about the move. He did say that he will take some time away from football with plenty of weekends now to improve his golf game.
With his record, he would be high on the list of any team looking to find success.