Ownership and management of the Chattanooga Generals indoor football team unveiled their plans at a press conference this past Friday morning at Camp Jordan Arena in East Ridge.
The Generals are an affiliate member of American Indoor Football. They have scheduled five dates for exhibition games during the spring and summer, and they will become a full league member starting in the 2013 season.
Team president Andre White, who played quarterback for Atlanta's Morehouse College and for the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League, is also an owner of the Macon (Ga.) Steel, another AIF member. He said he jumped at the chance to bring an indoor football team to the Chattanooga area after announced plans to bring in another indoor team to East Ridge recently fell through.
"I wanted to find a market to do what I loved and be close enough to home for my kids," said White, who previously owned indoor teams in Albany, Ga. and South Carolina. "We're not just about football, we're about family and community, and we plan to have a lot of community involvement with the Generals. We've been looking at the (Chattanooga) market for a couple of years now, and we feel really good about it. We're going to give it our best shot."
White said he found out about the opening after a call to Stump Martin, the new Parks and Recreation Director for the city of East Ridge.
It had previously been announced last September that Camp Jordan Arena would be the new home of the Tennessee Rail Runners, one of 10 new franchises in the Ultimate Indoor Football League, which began in 2011 with just six teams. However, the deal fell through and the UIFL was downsized to 10 teams with the Rail Runners being one of the contracted teams. The city of East Ridge got to keep the $6,000 nonrefundable fee for reserving use of the arena.
The Generals will be coached by Tim Freeman, who guided Chattahoochee Tech to the 2011 Club Football national championship. Mario Davis, a 1987 graduate of Brainerd High School, will serve as the team's general manager and be assisted by Rick Butler and Clint Spencer. Butler has previous experience with indoor football with the Nashville Kats.
"This is an exciting day," Martin said, "and we're blessed to be able to bring in indoor football to this area. I saw my first infdoor football game a few years ago and quickly got addicted to it. Once I started looking into Andre and his group, I was impressed with them. These guys know football. They are professionals and they'll do a good job."
While the team is quickly putting together its inaugural roster, White said tryouts are scheduled for March 17 in Atlanta and tentatively scheduled for March 18 in Chattanooga.
The Generals' first game will be April 21, 2012 with other games set for May 19, June 2, June 16, and July 7.
The AIF originally formed in 2005 and currently has 12 teams playing in the 2012 season.
In addition to the Macon Steel, the East Coast Division includes the Harrisburg (Pa.) Stampede, the Cape Fear (N.C.) Heroes, the Maryland Reapers, the Virginia Badgers, the Carolina (N.C.) Force, and the Tri-State (Md.) Redhawks. The West Coast Division features the Ontario (Cal.) Warriors, the Arizona Outlaws, the California Eagles, the North Alameda Knights, and the Nevada Lynx.