SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah Blaze have announced that legendary coach Ron McBride will return to the franchise in 2013 to once again lead the team's offensive line. McBride originally joined the Blaze for the 2012 season after electing to end a 97-day retirement from a brilliant 47-year college coaching career.
"After a coaching career that has spanned more than four decades, Coach McBride still brings as much passion and energy to the game as anyone I've met," said coach Ron James. "He was instrumental in helping our offense reach new heights by mentoring the offensive line and fullbacks. We are excited that he has chosen to remain on staff with the Blaze for the 2013 campaign."
"I'm excited to have the opportunity to coach with the Blaze again in 2013," said McBride. "I think we have a great team coming back and I think we're in great position to be very successful. I look forward to having a great season."
Over a long and storied career, McBride has coached over 70 future National Football League players, including NFL All-Pros in Jamal Anderson (Atlanta Falcons), Luther Ellis (Detroit Lions), Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers) and Jordan Gross (Carolina Panthers). He most recently served as the Head Coach at Weber State University (2004-2011), where he led the Wildcats to two NCAA FCS Playoff appearances and guided the program to its first Big Sky Conference Championship in 40 years in 2008.
"Coach Mac" is best known for revitalizing the football program at the University of Utah during his 13 seasons as Head Coach (1990-2002). Prior to his hiring, Utah had reached bowl games just three times in 97 years. Yet in just his third season leading the program, McBride took the Utes to their first bowl appearance since 1964. McBride concluded his tenure at Utah with 88 victories - a mark that still stands as the second-most wins by a coach in school history (88-63 overall record).
In April of 2008, Coach Mac was honored by the Utah Football Coaches Association and presented with the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to football in the state of Utah.
Offensive coordinator Matthew Sauk will also return to the Utah Blaze in 2013, as the team officially announced he has agreed to a new contract. Now entering his third season with the Blaze, Sauk was named the Arena Football League's assistant coach of the year in each of his first two campaigns in Utah.
"Coach Sauk is an invaluable member of this organization," James said. "His track record of consistently producing high-powered offensive units is a testament to his level of dedication. We're excited to have him back on board."
Known for his cerebral approach, Sauk has achieved unparalleled on-field production throughout his career. In each of his first two seasons in Utah, the Blaze offense has led the Arena Football League in passing. Under Sauk's direction in 2012, Utah set regular season AFL records for passing touchdowns (142), passing yards (5,758), passing first downs (332), pass attempts (753) and pass completions (510).