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Soul add two coaches to staff

Tuesday March 22, 2016

 Bernie Nowotarski Named Defensive Backs Coach

PHILADELPHIA – The 2015 East Division Champion Philadelphia Soul today announce the team’s 2016 coaching staff. Alongside Head Coach Clint Dolezel and Assistant Head Coach Phil Bogle will be Defensive Backs Coach Bernie Nowotarski and returning Assistant Coach Steve Criswell. This will be Nowotarski’s first season with the Soul in the wake of former Soul coach Derek Stingley’s resignation and Criswell’s fourth season with the team.

Nowotarski, a Pennsylvania native, joins the Soul with ten years of arena football coaching experience, spending time with the IFL’s Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, AIFA’s Reading Express and the AIF’s Harrisburg Stampede. He has, in total, a 94-40 regular record, five division titles, three conference championships and two national championship victories (2009 with the Reading Express and 2013 with the Harrisburg Stampede). He was named Coach of the Year in both seasons with the championship teams.

“Bernie brings a fresh perspective on our team’s secondary,” said Soul Head Coach Clint Dolezel. “He has a tremendous understanding of the arena game and has had success everywhere he has been.”

Criswell brings over nine years of arena football expertise, with his teams compiling an overall record of 109-35 (.757) and qualifying for postseason play in eight seasons. He was a contributing factor in the success of the Soul defensive line who tallied a total of 27.0 sacks, four blocked kicks, six forced fumbles and a safety last season, as well as coaching DE Bryan Robinson, who was awarded All-Arena honors.

Prior to the Soul, Criswell was named head coach of the IFL franchise Richmond Revolution in 2009. During their inaugural season, the team went 13-2, setting an IFL regular season record for wins and Criswell was named IFL Coach of the Year.

“Steve has many years of coaching experience that has allowed him to adapt to the Soul-style of play very quickly,” said Dolezel. “Between Steve and Phil (Bogle), I have high expectations for the performance of both the offensive and defensive lines.

The Soul travel to Cleveland to take on the Gladiators in the season opener on Friday, April 1 at 7 p.m. The team will then return to host the Jacksonville Sharks on Monday, April 11 in the Soul’s home opener.


The 2015 Eastern Division Champion Philadelphia Soul are entering their 11th Season. In ten seasons of play, the Soul have won four Division Championships, three Conference Championships and a World Championship. Since the inaugural season in 2004, the Soul are the winningest professional sports team in Philadelphia. Season memberships and Group tickets for the Soul’s upcoming 2016 season are on sale now. For tickets, contact the Soul sales department at (215) 253-4900 ext. 3, or request contact from a Soul representative by filling out the form on Follow the Soul on Facebook at and Twitter at