Dennis Erickson Returns to Rice-Eccles Stadium Sidelines with Veteran Staff
Salt Lake City, Utah – October 11, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football’s Salt Lake Stallions today announced their full coaching staff under head coach Dennis Erickson for the 2019 inaugural season.
Joining head coach Dennis Erickson as he returns to Rice-Eccles stadium for the first time since December of 2016, Donnie Henderson will serve as The Stallion’s defensive coordinator, Tim Lappano as the team’s offensive coordinator and Dan Cozzetto as the offensive line coach. Additionally, Dennis Creehan will work as the linebacker coach, Ronnie Lee as the defensive back coach, Jason Phillips as wide receiver coach and Ronald Fouch as quarterbacks coach. Nick James will serve in a defensive quality control role with Nick Alaimalo as offensive quality control and running back coach while Michael Gray will be The Stallion’s defensive line coach.
“As I worked to assemble my staff, I was focused on finding coaches who will embrace the Salt Lake community and provide our players with the best possible experience as we work to build a championship calibre team,” said Dennis Erickson, head coach, Salt Lake Stallions. “We are always looking for ways to help players succeed on and off the field by reaching their full potential and the staff we have curated is uniquely familiar to me and understands what we are going to try and accomplish here in Salt Lake on both sides of the football.”
Donnie Henderson, Defensive Coordinator
Henderson, a coaching veteran of both the collegiate and professional ranks, most recently served as the defensive backs coach for the Buffalo Bills (2013-16). Prior to joining the Bills, Henderson coached at Southern University in 2011 and was named the defensive backs coach at Syracuse University in 2012. He has also coached the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens (1999-2003), New York Jets (2004-05), Detroit Lions (2006), Cincinnati Bengals (2007), Jacksonville Jaguars (2008) and Arizona Cardinals (2009-10). Henderson began his coaching career at his alma mater Utah State (1983-88) and then spent a season at the University of Idaho in 1989. He then spent two seasons at California (1990- 91) before joining the Arizona State staff (1992-97). Henderson spent the 1998 season at the University of Houston prior to joining the NFL.
Tim Lappano, Offensive Coordinator
Lappano brings nearly 40 years of offensive coaching experience to the Stallions most recently serving as the wide receivers coach and interim head coach at Georgia State University (2014-16). Lappano has extensive experience within both college and professional football having spent 16 years with college programs in major conferences. He began his coaching career at his alma mater Idaho (1982-85) and has also coached collegiately at Wyoming (1986, 1996), Washington State (1987-91), California (1992-95) and Purdue (1997). In 1998 Lappano made his way to the NFL joining the staff of the Seattle Seahawks before returning to the college ranks at Oregon State (1999-2002). He returned to the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers (2003-04) prior to joining Washington Redskins (2005-08). Lappano then spent five seasons with the Detroit Lions (2009-2013) prior to joining Georgia State in 2014.
Dan Cozzetto, Offensive Line
Cozzetto (koh-ZEH-toh) is a coaching veteran with nearly 40 years of experience within collegiate and professional football. Cozzetto has spent the majority of his career coaching at the collegiate level after getting his start at his alma mater the University of Idaho (1979-90) where he spent the first 12 seasons in the profession. Following his first stretch with Idaho, Cozzetto moved on to California (1990-92) before the first of three stints at Arizona State (1992-2000; 2007-08, 2018) which were separated by time with Oregon State (2000-02) and the San Francisco 49ers (2003-04). Cozzetto returned to Idaho (2006) prior to his second term at Arizona State (2007-08). Cozzetto then went on to join the staff at Washington (2009-13) before becoming the head coach at Phoenix College (2015-17) followed by a return to Oregon State (2017) and Arizona State (2018).
Denny Creehan, Linebackers Coach
Creehan has 43 years of football coaching experience with nine different collegiate programs. Most recently Creehab has served as athletic director at Alderson Broaddus University for the past seven years and head coach of the schools football team the past four. Prior to leading Alderson Broaddus, Creehan had served as the head coach at West Virginia Wesleyan (2009-10), University of South Dakota (1992-1996), San Francisco State (1990), Edinboro (1979-1984). Creehan has also spent time with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger Cats (2008), Calgary Stampeders (2004-07) and the Edmonton Eskimos (1991, 1985-86). Prior to his time in the CFL, Creehan spent time as an assistant with Army (2003), Rutgers (1998-2000), Arkansas State (1997), California (1987-89), Edinboro (1976-78), Carnegie Mellon (1975) and Pittsburgh (1974).
Ronnie Lee, Defensive Backs
Lee began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at University of Miami following his playing career at Washington State. Following his time with the Hurricanes (1989-90), Lee went on to Portland State (1991) and then Idaho (1992) before joining the staff at Colorado State (1993-2000). Lee then went to San Jose State (2001-02) prior to heading to the University of Wisconsin (2003-05) and then on to University of Michigan for the 2006 season. Following his season with the Wolverines, Lee joined the University of Minnesota (2007-10) and then went on to Indiana State (2011-12). Lee has spent the previous six seasons at The King’s Academy in West Palm Beach Florida.
Nick James, Defensive Quality Control
James has worked with numerous football programs during his career following his initial opportunity with his alma mater Tuskegee University where he spent four seasons tutoring the defensive backs with a focus on safeties. James then went on to various off-field roles with the Alabama Hammers (2013) of the Professional Indoor League before spending time with the Cleveland Browns (2013). Following his time in Cleveland, James returned to the college ranks landing at Alabama A&M and then went on to Snow College (2014) where he coached the defensive backs along with serving as the teams video coordinator. The following season, James was the special teams analyst at Vanderbilt (2015) prior to taking a special teams role at Austin Peay (2017). Most recently, James served as defensive quality control coach for linebackers and defensive backs with the Spring League.
Jason Phillips, Wide Receivers
Phillips brings a vast resume of coaching experience following a decorated collegiate and professional playing career. Most recently, Phillips was the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach at Oregon State (2017) after spending the previous season as the wide receivers coach at Kansas (2016). Phillips spent three seasons as the co-offensive coordinator at SMU (2012-14), guiding the Mustangs’ offense to numerous individual and team records. Prior to his tenure at SMU, Phillips spent eight of the previous nine seasons at the University of Houston (2003-06; 2008-11) with a stop at Baylor (2007). Phillips began his coaching career at Texas State (2002) and also includes NFL intern appointments with the Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons.
Ronald Fouch, Quarterbacks
Fouch was a two-year letter winner at quarterback for the Indiana State Sycamores after playing two seasons at Washington. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Georgia State before moving into an off-field position as a football recruiting specialist for the Panthers. In 2015, Fouch was named the offensive quality control coach at Louisville.
Nick Alaimalo, Running Backs / Offensive Quality Control
Alaimalo most recently served as the co-defensive coordinator at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. Alaimalo began his coaching at his alma mater, New Mexico Highlands, following a playing career as a defensive back in 2008. Following his time at New Mexico Highlands, he moved on to Arizona State before joining the University of Utah coaching staff in a variety of positions (2012-17).
Michael Gray, Defensive Line
Gray brings an impressive resume both on and off the field which includes 27 years of playing and coaching experience in collegiate and professional football. Most recently, he spent five seasons coaching the defensive line at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (2010-2014). A standout defensive tackle at the University of Oregon, Gray took his talents to the CFL and turned in an impressive eight year playing career with the BC Lions (1985-86) and Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1987-92) and accumulated numerous awards and accolades. Throughout his playing career Gray was selected as Most Outstanding Rookie (1985), CFL All-Star and CFL West All-Star (1985) and CFL East All-Star (1989). A three-time Grey Cup Champion (1985, 1988, 1990) as a player which included being named the Grey Cup Defensive MVP in 1988 in part for a game-saving interception known as the ‘immaculate reception’ which preserved a Winnipeg victory. Following his playing career, Gray was inducted into the Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame in 2006. Immediately following his playing career, Gray transitioned to the sidelines re-joining the BC Lions (1993-94) as an assistant coach. Gray returned to the States as he joined the staff at Weber State (1995) coaching the defensive line. Following the 1995 season Gray spent two seasons as the defensive line coach for the NFL’s St. Louis Rams (1996-97) before joining the staff of the Oregon State Beavers (1997-2002) where he would remain for the next six seasons tutoring the defensive line. Gray left the Beavers and joined the University of Kentucky (2003-04) as the Wildcats offensive line coach before returning to the Pacific Northwest and coaching the defensive line with the Oregon Ducks (2005-2008).
The Salt Lake Stallions will play home games at Rice Eccles Stadium. Fans looking to secure tickets early for the inaugural season can purchase season ticket seat deposits for $50 at SaltLakeStallions.com.