Sharks' Trigg: "The best guy plays."
“I remain quietly optimistic,” said Mike Trigg when asked if the Sharks were ready for their second season. “I think we’re comfortable” said the returning coach of the af2 Corpus Christi Sharks. On Saturday, March 29, the Sharks began their 2008-09 season in Austin with a 61-48 victory over the Wranglers. That’s a dramatic difference than how the Sharks began last season. Their current record is 2-2.
Last year, Trigg spent 80% of his time trying to convince players in the AFL to come back to the af2. These were the guys that were bench warmers, or played the practice squad. Giving them an opportunity to actually take to the field was Trigg’s motive. It appeared the players that Trigg tried to recruit were more concerned with status than actual game time.
Trigg said a great af2 player has athletic competence and doesn’t look at the af2 as an insult. “He uses it as a tool” said Trigg. “[He] uses it as motivation”. Attitude makes up a lot of a players performance on and off the field according to Trigg. During the off season Trigg recruited talented and motivated players. He accepted no politics in creating this year’s Sharks. “The best guy plays.” Trigg said. The AFL and the af2 have hundreds of talented players. There are some players that are marketed and some players that aren’t. The marketed players may not have the talent of the un-marketed players, but play based on sheer politics. “Pride and ego get in the way with those players” said Trigg.
Trigg has the reputation of not being a players coach. “I don’t know what a players coach is, exactly” said Trigg. Trigg said he pushes his players for the most potential. "If you’re lazy, I will be difficult and hard to work with.” Trigg said. Trigg has changed up his coaching style from last year. He’s learned to find the middle ground between having fun and the business of winning. “Don’t take yourself too seriously!” said Trigg. “I think the great Lombardy quote, “Winning is everything” should be replaced with “Effort is everything.”
The Sharks owner and president is Joe Avezzano. Avezzano is a 15 year NFL coaching veteran. Avezzano is the only three-time winner of the NFL Special Teams Coach of the Year Award (1991, 1993, and 1998), voted on by NFL special teams coaches. Joe also spent two years as the head coach of the AFL’s Dallas Desperados Under Avezzano from 2002-03, the Desperados went 18-15 with two postseason appearances and a division title in the franchise’s first two years of existence. Prior to entering the NFL coaching ranks, Avezzano was offensive line coach at Texas A&M from 1985-88, during which time the Aggies won three Southwest Conference titles and two Cotton Bowls. For Trigg, having a man with the stature of Avezzano is a real asset. “There’s no pressure at all. I’ve never had anyone in that position with that experience.” said Trigg. “He’s on top of things and he’s willing to roll up his sleeves and help.
Mike Trigg is a San Antonio native. He lettered in Baseball and Football. After high school he went on to play Football for East Texas State. He attended the Minnesota Vikings training camp in 1989. After he was cut, Trigg went on to play in the Arena Football League (AFL). He won two championships with the Detroit Drive in 1989 and 1990, where he played under Tim Marcum, the current coach of the Tampa Bay Storm, and Perry Moss. He was talked out of the AFL player ranks and into coaching by Drew Pearson, head coach of the orginal Dallas AFL team, the Texans. Drew gave him his first coaching opportunity. Trigg is entering his 20th season as a coach and his 23rd year in the AFL family.
“Our players aren’t nervous. They realize that we’re better. We have the opportunity to be a playoff team” said Trigg about the 2008-09 Shark season.