Meet Marcus Herford, new HC of the Italian champion Milano Seamen

The defending Italian champions, the Milano Seamen, announced that they have promoted offensive coordinator Marcus Herford to the position of head coach.

Herford is currently serving as offensive coordinator of Belo Horizonte Galo FA in Brazil.

Herford coached the offense for the Seamen for the past two years and has been the architect behind the highest scoring team in Italy.  The Seamen have won the last three Italian titles and four of the last five. Prior to arriving in Italy, he served as head coach of the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes (2016-2017). The 34 year old native of DeSoto, Texas led the Hurricanes to the German semifinals two years in a row and in 2017 produced the second best offense in Germany averaging 405.7 yards per game.

An outstanding receiver/kick returner at the University of Kansas, he was named a Preseason All America Return Specialist in 2008 and Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year in 2007.  In 2015, as offensive coordinator at Kentucky Wesleyan he coached Keenan Cole, currently wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Xavier Mitchell, now with the Seamen and who was one of the leading receivers in the German Football League in 2017.

American Football International caught up with Marcus to ask him about taking over as head coach of the Seamen, life in Italy, coaching football in Europe and traveling,

AFI: How do you feel about taking over as head coach of the most successful football team in Italy over the past decade? How much pressure do you feel?

Herford: I feel pretty good about it. I don’t feel extra pressure. I have worked with this team for the past two years and we work well together. This isn’t something I was pressing to get. I was asked and I accepted it. We’ll just get out there and do what we can do. Every situation and year is a new challenge. I know what I was able to accomplish with the Hurricanes. I hope I can prove I can be a good head coach here too.

AFI: You coached in Germany for two years. How did you first find out about football in Europe?

Herford: My former teammate from the University of Kansas had been posting videos of him playing ball overseas back in 2013 and I reached out to him to see how to go about playing. At the time I was still interested in playing ball. I end up in France and Turkey that year playing ball and after I left I knew I would always want to come back at some point to coach.

AFI: How do you see the differences coaching German players and Italian?

Herford: Well talentwise, there is not much difference. It’s pretty close. But the German league allows so many more players,  Euros and Americans which makes the league much stronger. That showed when we played international games.

AFI: Where are your weaknesses and strengths do you feel? Where do you think you need to improve?

Herford: This will be interesting. We will be losing veteran players for next season who have chosen to retire so replacing those guys will be a key. One major factor is that we are getting Zini back. His leadership was missed this past year so getting him back already is a huge plus. Also the linebacker position is a position of need and a spot we have to better at. We’re losing 2-3 linebackers and we only had four so. With Luke Zahrdka returning we are getting back one of the best quaterbacks in all of Europe. That definitely helps. And I would have to say that” X” [Xavier Mitchell] is the top receiver in all of Europe. Having those two guys back is huge. Then our O line is a spot of concern because we might have 2-3 guys retiring in that position that were four year starters. So the off season will be a challenge. We have already discussed and planned for this.

AFI: Will you be looking to play more internationally?

Herford: Yes we will be looking to play in leagues like the CEFL, most definitely. We were a year or two early this year, but definitely want to get back.

AFI: You’re finishing up the season in Brazil. Your team is riding a 38 game winning streak. How does that feel?

Herford: I am really enjoying myself and excited for the rest of the season. I am still doing all my planning for the 2020 Italian season and am really looking forward to getting  back.



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