Hall of Fame linebacker named coach of new Memphis pro football team

(Source: AAF)
(Source: AAF)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The first head coach of the newest pro football team in Memphis is Mike Singletary.

Singletary, a member of both the College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame, played for the Chicago Bears from 1981-1992. He was coach by Hall of Famer Mike Ditka for all but one of those years.

"I jumped at the opportunity, just very excited about the city, very excited about the fanbase," he said.

Singletary was selected to 10 Pro Bowls, eight first-team All-Pros, and was twice named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

He coached the San Francisco 49ers for parts of three seasons from 2008-2010, amassing an 18-22 record. Singletary was most recently a defensive assistant for the Los Angeles Rams in 2016.

He also went on this famous rant as 49ers head coach:

Former NFL Pro Bowler Hines Ward was on hand to introduce Memphis' head coach.

"Your vibrant city, which has a rich football culture and a great community spirit, will make a perfect home here for our Alliance Memphis football team," Ward said.

Former University of Memphis football player Kosha Irby was named team president.

Alliance of American Football, a newly-formed professional football league, announced last week that Memphis will be one of eight cities with a team when the league kicks off in February 2019.

Memphis was a top priority for the AAF because of its love of football and its growing millennial population, according to a report from the Memphis Business Journal.

The Memphis team, currently unnamed, will play at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

But, it's not just football that's thriving in Memphis, baseball, soccer, basketball, and golf are all thriving in the Bluff City, too. All these sports are seeing tremendous success just in the last year in Memphis

The Redbirds are PCL Champions, a new USL soccer team is making Memphis home, Penny Hardaway is rejuvenating U of M hoops, and the FedEx St. Jude Classic is upgrading to a World Golf Championship.

All these developments show how sports are creating a huge economic boost, bringing more people to live and work in the Bluff City.

"It will really help us economically. It makes Memphis more attractive for people to live in," Mayor Jim Strickland said.

"These franchises, these leagues, they would not be looking at Memphis if they did not believe in the city of Memphis and it's future," Meagan Nichols, lead reporter for Memphis Business Journal, said.

For the Memphis Alliance Football team, a name and colors have not been chosen yet. But the players and their Hall of Fame coach are expected to hit the field in February 2019.

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