Sweden’s Top Two Teams Replace Head Coaches; Plan Long Term

The defending Swedish champion Carlstad Crusaders and three time runner ups, the Örebro Black Knights, have signed new head coaches for the 2016 season and for many years forward. With three and four year deals for their coaches, Tracey Gere in Carlstad and Aaron Fiddler for the Black Knights, the two teams are bucking what seems to be a trend, not only in Sweden but around Europe. Switching head coaches every year.

Carlstad welcomes back Gere

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After enjoying what was arguably the most successful season in their history capturing the Swedish title for the sixth straight year and the IFAF Europe Champions League crown, while also going through coaching turmoil at times, the Crusaders went back to basics so to speak in signing Tracey Gere as their new/old head coach.

Gere, who has been involved with the club both as a player and defensive coach since 2001, winning three titles along the way with the team, has recently returned from serving as the defensive coordinator at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Bethesda, Maryland for three years.

“It is with great pleasure that I return to Crusaders family after three years of traveling. I look forward to our new challenges and to continue this journey to establish Carlstad Crusaders as one of history’s best teams in both Sweden and Europe. “

Tracey Gere has a long history with the Carlstad Crusaders first arriving in 2001 as a player/coach handling the defensive secondary. Since then, serving as defensive coordinator, in nine seasons his defenses have allowed no more than 13.5 points a game, including playoffs, a remarkable statistic. His defenses have led the league four times in that nine year time span, finished second four times and third once.

The team has signed a three year contract with Coach Gere providing a level of continuity that they have not had since 2008. In fact, during their six year title run, the Crusaders have had six different head coaches, including Gere in 2012.

Crusader General Manager Robert Sundberg:

“This gives the club security over a longer period of time and we want to give Tracey the chance to build the defense he wants. We will also have a head coach who is here throughout the year, which means that he can be involved in everything from our basic training and physical training during the off season to how we work together with our development team and our season planning. “

Black Knights choose Aaron Fiddler

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The Örebro Black Knights, who have finished second in Sweden’s top league for the past three years under three different head coaches, have announced that they have signed Aaron Fiddler as their head coach for the next five years.

“I’m very exited to for myself and my family to become a part of the Örebro Black Knights organization. Through my time in Europe and what I have seen of Örebro from following football in Sweden I know that I could not be joining a better organization.”

The young (28 years old) Fiddler has gained an enormous amount of experience over the past five years serving most recently as the head coach of Hedgesville High School in West Virginia. He was the offensive coordinator for the Berlin Adler of the Germany Football League in 2011 and also filled the same role with the Marburg Mercenaries in 2010.

“We are very pleased that we have reached a long-term solution for the club,” says David Jonsson, general manager of the Orebro Black Knights. “Despite his young age, Fiddler lot of experience particularly in building a team from the ground up. We are in a position where we need to strengthen the foundation of the club and teams and ensure we have a stable base of players and a solid development program. We believe that Aaron Fiddler will be able to handle that job extremely well.”

The Black Knights have set a lofty goal. They aim to win four championships by 2020 including the Swedish Men’s, Women’s and U19 championships as well as the IFAF Europe Champions League title.

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.