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Predators introduce new team president

Dan Ryan
Tuesday July 31, 2007

Fourteen, fifteen, maybe even sixteen – anyway, it was a damn long time ago, Alan Gooch, a few other UCF coaches and I  routinely ate in a faculty/staff cafeteria trying to consume some reasonable facsimile of beef stew and very watered down ranch dressing on our salads.
He was an assistant coach, I was an assistant in the sports information department and our lives, heck our immortal destinies, hinged on how we did that weekend against some other school that either A) had a direction in its title B) was named after a Catholic saint or C) was a state, but had less electoral votes than we had fingers.
Cut to today, Gooch is now the man for the Orlando Predators. I’m running one of those indoor leagues without nets and many of us who sat in that lunchrooms have now worked their way up the ladder.
So as your first stringers both work their way home and try to recover from a non-descript championship game and the weekend’s debauchery, which should hit the Florida crew somewhere between Pensacola and Tallahassee if my intel on  Lucas’ intake is accurate, let us seasoned  semi-retirees opine about the big picture and life lessons learned from Monday’s classy affair (That’s right – the Predators put on a classy event. I did that type that.) in the bowels of the Amway Arena.
This is one of the feel-good days because the focus of attention revolves around a good guy who worked his way up the ladder from decent player to graduate assistant to assistant to interim head coach at his alma mater, moves over into administration when the new regime takes over, ventures into either real estate or tourism because, hey, this is Florida, and then gets the break and can return to football without leaving his hometown.
Along the way, coaches like Gooch have the opportunity to touch some lives, give some kids some much needed direction and help them exceed expectation, get through those bad days and make things better than they were when it started.
So it might be cool to have the mayor of Orange County – still basking in the glow of vote that gives Orlando a much-needed new arena and stadium renovation much to the chagrin of two whiny, clueless local newspaper columnists – to introduce Gooch and the Preds’ owner, a fellow UCF alum – see, it’s who you know as much as what you know – say that he’s the right man to take the team to new success. It’s cool to have to the photo op with his name on the back of the jersey  and the wife and kids dressed in Predator regalia. It’s cool to have the TV guys who’ve been around for millennia throw some softballs about how difficult will be to wear Preds colors instead of UCF black and gold.     
But Monday was just another step on the ladder. And the climb is just as satisfying.

Dan Ryan has been involved with all forms of arena football since 1988, including writing for ArenaFan when Joe Kauffman and Tim Capper aren’t killing his columns because they don’t get his jokes or perspective. His day job is at Bethune-Cookman University, which has produced both an NFL Hall of Famer (Larry Little) and an Arena Football Hall of Famer (Stevie Thomas) and his hobby is tracking how many f-bombs Adam Markowitz drops in the chat room on game nights.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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