Germany’s Allgäu Comets sign European veteran Stan Bedwell as head coach

The Allgäu Comets of the German Football League have signed 33 year old European veteran coach and player Stan Bedwell as their new head coach for 2018.

The club parted ways with former head coach Brian Caler following the season after nine years. The team finished fifth in the GFL South with 6-8 following back-to-back playoff appearances including a semifinal appearance in 2015.

Bedwell spent the 2017 season with the Hämeenlinna Huskies in Finland’s Maple League after he had helped them advance to the top league. The team finished third and lost in the Finnish semifinals by a field goal.

Bedwell brings with him a wealth of experience and success since arriving in Europe in 2006.  He  played or coached for 13 different teams, a number of them twice. With the move to the German Football League and the Comets, Bedwell will be preparing for his 13th season in Europe.

The list of Bedwell’s accomplishments defies the definition of long. Starting with his last team, the Huskies, who he helped advance to the Maple League in 2016, to Italy’s Lazio Marines who he also coached in 2016 and 2015 and took to the playoffs for the first time in many years, he has been making a difference wherever he has gone. He quarterbacked the Kragujevac Wild Boars in Serbia to the Serbian championship and a couple of years later took them to the European Federation of American Football final.

He has coached college with the North Dakota State College of Science and Belhaven University under the architect of the Air Raid offense Hal Mumme. He has even coached in India with the Elite Football League of India helping teach new coaches in that country about the game of football.

His record of success speaks for itself. As a head coach in Europe he has a 74-20 record, as as head coach/quarterback/offensive coordinator it is 47-8 and as a quarterback/offensive coordinator 81-15.

American Football International: Why the move to Allgäu?

Stan Bedwell: I loved it in Hämeenlinna  I had come to see the city as my home and a place that I planned to be for many years, but unfortunately the team did not have the budget to keep me there year round. At 33 years old and going into my 13th year in Europe, I’m in a position that I need a 12-month income and the Comets were able to offer me that. I’m very excited about the opportunity ahead of me, but I will deeply miss the players, coaches, management, and fans in Hämeenlinna. They were amazing and will always hold a place in my heart. I will still be working with the organization to help out the team in any and every way possible going forward.

AFI: This will be your first German Football League team. How does that feel?

Bedwell: It’s definitely exciting to have the opportunity to coach at the highest level of Europe, but I’m not going to get carried away about that. There’s a lot of hard work ahead of me, but I look forward to doing everything I can to prove that I am the right man for the job.

AFI: Will you be strictly coaching or playing too?

Bedwell: This one was tough actually. After a solid season in Finland, I received more playing opportunities than I ever have before. My initial plan was to play 100%, but after visiting Kempten, meeting everyone involved with the organization, and seeing the work that needs to be done…I feel it’s in the best interest of our team that I commit myself 100% to coaching the team. I will not necessarily say that this is a retirement from playing, as I feel there’s plenty of gas left in the tank, but for the time being…my focus will be on coaching and serving the Comets organization to the best of my ability.

AFI: What are your thoughts on the GFL? What are your expectations for 2018?

Bedwell: It’s the best league in Europe, it’s very humbling to have the opportunity to coach here. My expectations are the same as always…to put together a great coaching staff, build a strong roster, and compete for a championship. The Comets are a great organization that has made the playoffs twice in the past three years and came up one game short this year. We can win here and I expect for that to happen a lot in 2018.

One key to my success in Europe is that I only accept jobs that I truly believe I can win at…I have no doubts that we can win in Kempten and win fast. It’s a great honor and a great challenge, but I’m very much looking forward to it.

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Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.