June a black month for German Football League head coaches, three are gone

June was a black month for head coaches in the German Football League.

With the announcement of the release of Jeff Scurran as head coach of the Allgäu Comets, it brings to three the number of head coaches now relieved of their duties from GFL teams since late May with half of the season still left.

Previously, John Leijten was let go by the Düsseldorf Panther and in late May the Marburg Mercenaries parted ways with Dale Heffron.

All three were highly experienced and successful head coaches before joining their teams. Scurran has in impeccable record in high school football in the United States, Leijten’s history stretches back through NFL Europe while Heffron has done extremely well guiding teams in Germany.

For the Comets, this will mean that Hesham Khalifa will step in as interim head coach for the second year in a row. Allgäu has now been through four coaching changes in two years if you include interim head coaches. At about this time last year, the club lost Stan Bedwell as head coach along with his entire coaching staff. At that point, the Comets were 5-4 and eventually made the playoffs. According to Bedwell, he and the club had differing opinions on how the team should be run. Bedwell had been hired to replace Brian Caler who was released in late 2017 after nine years with the club. Caler is currently head coach of the 2018 German Bowl finalists, the Frankfurt Universe.

According to the Comets Sports Director Dieter Morgenstern, there was never really a good fit between the Comets and Scurran. Allgäu is currently mired in seventh place in the GFL South with a 1-5 record. However, they lost two two games by a total of five points. Against Munich, they were penalized 15 times for 135 yards against Munich’s one for 15. Against Kirchdorf, it was 16  for 160 against one for 15.

The Panther, who returned to the GFL for the first time since 2016, sit dead last in the GFL North and are 0-9. Leijten, who is head coach for Australia’s national team and coached the Dresden Monarchs for four seasons (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) compiled a 38-12-2 record before this year, reaching the GFL semifinals four times and the quarterfinals once.

Michael Wevelsiep, chairman of the board and sports director of AFC Dusseldorf 1978 e.V:

“It is obvious that our team has not lived up to our expectations since the beginning of the season. The season so far has clearly shown that we had to take steps. The executive committee explained this to the head coach in an open discussion and informed him of the decision.”

Düsseldorf announced at the same time the hiring of former NFL player Tim Johnson, who lives in the Dusseldorf area, as the new head coach.

The Mercenaries parted ways with Heffron in late May after the team had lost the first three and then won a game against Kirchdorf. Since then, Marburg has won three straight. Heffron had a record of 15-17 with Marburg. The interim “head coach” for now is offensive line coach Tibor Gohmert, but the team is splitting a lot of the head coaches’ duties up between a few people.

What’s the reason for this coaching upheaval? As one GFL coach who wishes to remain anonymous puts it, the pressure is higher now.

” It’s the pressure of winning. And expectations are getting higher every year in general.”







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