Portland Thunder part ways with Sauk and announce signing of AFL ultra veteran Mike Hohensee
The Portland Thunder , who played their inaugural season in 2014 at Portland's Moda Center, announced today that they have let go of the first year head coach Mathew Sauk. The introduction of new Thunder head coach Mike Hohensee will take place on Wednesday around midday. The former head coach of the Iowa Barnstormers has been in the AFL as a player or coach for every year the league has existed and in fact threw the first touchdown in AFL history.
A press release from the Thunder contained the following statement form Team President Brian Sandy:
“We are thankful for the contributions Matt made to our organization in our inaugural season. However, at this time, we feel we need a fresh face and voice to lead our team moving forward” explained Sandy. “We wish Matt and his family the very best as he moves on in his football career.”
The timing of such a move is curious as the league's free agency season begins tonight at midnight and the Thunder are at least a player if not a heavy buyer in this year’s signing period. At a minimum the resigning of defensive back Eric Crocker, who was close to Sauk, must be high on the teams list. The Thunder fielded one of the league’s top defensive backfields and Crocker's veteran leadership was part of the formula for that success.
A press conference is planned for midday Wednesday and in all likelihood be the moment the new head coach of the Thunder will be presented. The announcement Hohensee's hiring will clear up a good deal of the mystery surrounding the timing of this move due to the individual involved. It is also notable that the start of the free agency period has been postponed until Thursday.
Coach Hohensee has connections at every level of the Arena Football League and has coached a number of high profile players now eligible for free agency.
The Barnstormers cut ties with Hohensee in advance of the team’s departure from the AFL and the split seems to have been amicable on both sides.