Arizona-native and Hotshots Head Coach Rick Neuheisel Assembles Coaching Staff
Phoenix, Ariz. – October 9, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football’s Arizona Hotshots today announced additions to head coach Rick Neuheisel’s staff for the 2019 inaugural season. Nick Aliotti joins the Hotshots as the defensive coordinator, Tim Hundley will be the linebackers coach and Ron Aiken will be the defensive line coach. Chris Reinert joins Neuheisel as an offensive assistant coach, Hugh Freeze will be the offensive coordinator and Steve Axman will be the team’s quarterback coach and offensive assistant coach.
“The Alliance is an incredible platform for talented players and qualified coaches looking to begin, extend or revitalize their professional careers,” said Rick Neuheisel, head coach Arizona Hotshots. “When I began curating my coaching staff to join me here in Arizona, I was looking for experienced, dynamic coaches who can help us be the team I’ve envisioned — fast, high-powered and efficient on both sides of the ball. We’re building something special here in Arizona and we want to make this state proud by excelling on and off the field come first snap.”
Nick Aliotti, Defensive Coordinator
A veteran of 36 seasons on the sidelines Aliotti has experience on both the collegiate and professional levels. Most known for his tenure at the University of Oregon which encompassed parts of the past five decades, Aliotti became one of the most respected defensive minds in football. He began his coaching career with Oregon (1978-79) as a graduate assistant before moving on to in-state rival Oregon State (1980-83) as the Beavers running backs coach. Following his time with Oregon State, Aliotti moved south to Chico State (1984-87) where he took over as offensive coordinator as well as the offensive line. Aliotti then moved to the defensive side of the ball as he began his second stint with the Oregon (1988-94) staff in 1988 tutoring the outside linebackers for five years before taking over the Ducks defensive backs for two seasons. He made the jump to the NFL ranks when he joined the St. Louis Rams (1995-97) as the special teams coordinator before returning to the college game as the defensive coordinator/defensive backs for UCLA (1998). Following one season with the Bruins, Aliotti returned to Oregon where he would spend the next 15 seasons as the Ducks defensive coordinator.
Tim Hundley, Linebackers
A seasoned coaching veteran whose career has covered five decades of college football, most recently he spent three seasons coaching linebackers and the secondary for UNLV (2012-14). Hundley’s impressive coaching resume includes 16 years calling defenses as a defensive coordinator for FBS programs, his coaching career began in 1974 as a defensive graduate assistant at his alma mater, Western Oregon State. He went on to stints at Clackamas Community College (1975-76) as defensive coordinator/secondary coach before moving on to Idaho (1977-79) as the linebackers and secondary coach for the Vandals, he continued tutoring defenses as he moved on to Nevada (1980-81) to coach the Wolfpacks secondary. Following his time at Nevada he began a stretch in what is now the Pac-12 as he joined the staff at Oregon State (1982-89) as the defensive coordinator while coaching the secondary as well as the linebackers before heading to UCLA (1990-95) for his first stint with the Bruins as the linebackers and special teams coach. Hundley moved to Colorado (1996-98) tutoring the Buffalos defensive line before entering his third decade on the sidelines as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach with the Washington Huskies(1999-2003). Hundley left the Pacific Northwest for UTEP (2004-07) where he spent the next four seasons as the Miners defensive coordinator before heading to SMU (2008) as the assistant head coach and linebackers coach before returning to UCLA (2009-11) and spending three seasons coaching the defensive secondary.
Ron Aiken, Defensive Line
Aiken has spent the past 30 years coaching football at every level after beginning his career an offensive line coach at Boiling Springs (S.C.) High School (1978) before becoming head coach at Greensville County (Va.) High School in 1979. He ventured into the collegiate coaching ranks as the offensive line and special teams at Bethany (Kan.) College in 1980 before heading to Tarkio (Mo.) College to become the offensive coordinator in 1982. He spent the 1985 season as special teams coordinator at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (N.Y.) prior to serving as head coach at Langston (Okla.) University from 1986-89. Following his tenure at the helm at Langston, Aiken spent the next five seasons coaching defensive ends and linebackers at New Mexico (1990-94) before moving on to Vanderbilt (1995-96), Texas (1997) and San Diego State (1998) coaching the defensive line, defensive tackles and linebackers respectively. Aiken then moved to Iowa (1999-2006) for the next eight seasons whereas the Hawkeyes defensive line coach he was honored with the AFCA Division I FBS Assistant Coach of the Year Award in 2002. In 2007, Aiken left the collegiate ranks for professional football and joined the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals (2007-12) where for six season he tutored the defensive line. After his time with the Cardinals, Aiken returned to college football when he accepted the defensive line position at the University of Oregon (2013-16). Most recently he coached at Chandler (Ari.) Valley Christian.
Chris Reinert, Offensive Assistant
Reinert spent the past two seasons coaching special teams at UCLA (2016-17) after spending the previous two seasons with the football program at Washington State (2014-15). While at Washington State Reinert spent his first season in 2014 as a Defensive Graduate Assistant/Assistant Defensive Backs Coach while also being responsible for aspects of the Cougars’ Special Teams. The 2015 campaign saw Reinert move to an offensive graduate assistant role working with the quarterbacks, in addition he also served as special assistant to the head coach. During his first stop at UCLA (2011-13), Reinert began his initial tenure as a defensive quality control coach in 2011 before moving to a defensive graduate assistant role where assisted with the defensive backs during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Prior to his time at UCLA, Reinert served the 2010 season as the Defensive Backs coach at Harvard-Westlake High School in Studio City, CA.
Hugh Freeze, Offensive Coordinator
Freeze brings more than two decades of coaching experience including a resume with 17 years of head coaching experience at the high school and collegiate level. Most notably Freeze was the head coach for the University of Mississippi (2012-16) for five seasons guiding the Rebels to a 39-25 record during that time. Freeze began his coaching career at Briarcrest Christian School (1992-2004) in Memphis, Tennessee where he would spend 13 seasons originally served as the schools offensive coordinator and defensive backs coach (1992-94) before being elevated to the head coaching role prior to the start of the 1995 season. In the 10 seasons while at the helm, the Saints won two state championships, four regional titles and Freeze was named AP coach of the year six times as Briarcrest compiled a 99-23 record. Freeze left Briarcrest in 2005 to take the assistant athletic director for football external affairs at Ole Miss prior to being named the Rebels tight end coach and recruiting coordinator (2006-07). In 2008 Freeze was named the head coach at NAIA’s Lambuth College in Jackson, Tennessee. In two seasons with the Eagles (2008-09), Freeze went 20-5, including an 11-0 regular season record in 2009, before joining the staff at Arkansas State as offensive coordinator. Following one season (2010) as the Red Wolves offense coordinator, Freeze was elevated to the Arkansas State head coaching role where in his lone season at the helm in 2011, he registered a 10-2 record and the school’s first Sun Belt Conference title. Coming off the success at Arkansas State, Freeze was hired as head coach at Mississippi in 2011 and spent the next five seasons guiding the Rebels program to a 39-25 record and a 3-1 bowl record which included an appearance in a major bowl for the first time in 45 years (2014 Peach Bowl) as well as a top-10 finishes in both the AP and Coaches poll following the 2015 season which marked the first time that the Rebels finished in the top 10 of each since 1969.
Steve Axman, Quarterbacks Coach / Offensive Asst Coach
Axman brings a wealth of experiences after coaching for over 40 years at various levels of collegiate and professional football. Recently he served as the quarterbacks coach at Perry High School in Gilbert, Ariz. Prior to that, he was the Interim Head Coach at Nichols State University (2014) and quarterback coach at Simon Frasier University (2013). Before joining the staff at Simon Frasier, Axman was the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at the University of Idaho (2007-11) while also tutoring the Vandals tight ends and quarterbacks. From 1999 thru 2006, Axman spent five of the eight campaigns coaching at the University of Washington (1999-2002, 2004) as he initially served as the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach prior to becoming the Huskies wide receivers coach before the 2004 season. Between his time with Washington he spent the 2003 season, as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at UCLA, while the 2006 campaign was spent in Montana tutoring quarterbacks for the Grizzlies. In 1998, Axman served as the quarterbacks coach at the University of Minnesota following an eight year run as the head coach of the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (1990-97) compiling a 48-41 record, making him the second-winningest coach in Northern Arizona history. In 1989, Axman served as quarterbacks coach for Maryland, while prior to joining the Terrapins, he was the offensive coordinator at UCLA (1987-88). Prior to UCLA, Axman coached at Stanford (1986), with the Denver Gold of the United States Football League (1985), and at the University of Arizona (1980-1984) as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Axman previously spent a year at Illinois (1979), three seasons at Army (1976-78), and one season at Albany (1975). Axman began his collegiate coaching career at East Stroudsburg State in 1974.
The Arizona Hotshots will play home games at Sun Devil Stadium. Fans looking to secure tickets early for the inaugural season can purchase season ticket seat deposits for $50 at arizona-hotshots.com.