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Birmingham Iron finalize coaching staff

BIRMINGHAM – The Alliance of American Football’s Birmingham Iron on Dec. 10 announced four more additions to head coach Tim Lewis’ staff.

Rick Minter has been named the defensive coordinator. Ted Cottrell will coach the linebackers while Lori ‘Lo’ Locust will serve as the defensive line assistant coach under previously announced defensive line coach Ray Hamilton. On the offensive side of the ball, Alex Mortensen will coach the wide receivers.

“These four remaining coaches that are joining our staff bring a multitude of experience,” said Lewis. “In this inaugural season of The Alliance, these top-notch individuals round out an already outstanding group. Their professionalism, teaching skills and knowledge of football are aligned with our vision.”

Minter comes to Birmingham after spending the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Florida Tech. Minter, a long-time defensive coordinator and the former head coach at Cincinnati, served as Georgia State’s defensive line coach during the 2016 season. Prior to working with GSU, he spent three seasons in the National Football League, serving as linebackers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. In his 10 seasons at the helm of Cincinnati (1994-2003), as the program transitioned to Conference USA, he led the Bearcats to six seasons of .500 or better football, four bowl berths and a conference co-championship. In addition to his tenure at Cincinnati, Minter served 17 years as a defensive coordinator, including two stints at Notre Dame in 1992-93 and 2005-06 as well as stops at Ball State, South Carolina (2004), Marshall (2008-09) and Kentucky (2011-12).

He also served as the interim head coach at Marshall in 2009, leading the Thundering Herd to a victory in the Little Caesar’s Bowl. Minter began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater Henderson State University in 1977 and Arkansas in 1978. His first full-time position was at Louisiana Tech as the defensive ends coach in 1979. He then coached linebackers at NC State (1980-82) and New Mexico State (1984) before becoming assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Ball State from 1985-91.In his first stint as defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, Minter helped the 1993 Fighting Irish squad to an 11-1 record and a No. 2 final ranking. In his second stint with the Irish, Notre Dame’s 2005 team also earned a top 10 national ranking. A native of Nash, Texas, Minter earned his bachelor’s (1977) and master’s degrees (1978) from Henderson State.

Cottrell brings more than 30 years of coaching experience to the Iron. The Chester, Pennsylvania native began his coaching career at Rutgers University, where he worked as an assistant for eight years. In 1981, he got his first NFL coaching job as the linebackers coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. Cottrell was an assistant coach for the Buffalo Bills from 1995-2000, serving as the defensive coordinator the last three seasons. In 2001, he joined the New York Jets filling the assistant head coach/defensive coordinator role, and in 2004, he spent two seasons as the defensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings. He served as the defensive coordinator with the San Diego Chargers from 2007-08 before being named the head coach of the then UFL’s New York Sentinels in 2009.Cottrell starred at Delaware Valley College from 1965 to 1968. The former linebacker was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1969 and spent two seasons with the franchise. He ended his playing career in the Canadian Football League with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1971.

Locust brings 13 years of experience to the Magic City after coaching at the high school, semi-pro, arena and pro levels. She most recently spent three weeks at the Baltimore Ravens training camp as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship working with the defensive coaches. She broke new ground, becoming the Ravens’ first female coach in franchise history. Prior to her time with the Ravens, Locust was on the sidelines for nine seasons as an assistant football coach at Susquehanna Township High in Harrisburg, Pa. Locust worked with the National Arena League’s Lehigh Valley Steelhawks during the 2015-16, 2016-17 seasons serving as the defensive assistant, defensive lineman/linebackers coach and co-special teams coordinator. Locust is also affiliated with East Preps and has been working with their Team America and FCS Bowl games as the defensive line and/or linebackers coach to showcase talent from around the country to scouts at various levels.

Mortensen comes to Birmingham after four seasons as a graduate assistant coach and analyst at the University of Alabama. He was a member of two national championships and four SEC championship staffs. In 2012, Mortensen joined New Mexico Highlands University as the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator. Mortensen contributed to Emmanuel Lewis’ successful season as the quarterback garnered conference accolades and posted the second-best ranking in the nation in total offense. The Cowboys finished their regular season with an 8-3 overall record and a 7-2 RMAC mark. The 8-3 record was the best NMHU record since the 1998 season. The Atlanta, Georgia native is a graduate of the University of Arkansas where he played quarterback. The former quarterback was signed by the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2009.

The Alliance of American Football is a professional football league founded by TV and film producer Charlie Ebersol and Hall of Famer Bill Polian. The Alliance will feature eight teams with 52-player rosters playing a 10-week regular season schedule in the spring beginning Feb. 9, 2019 on CBS, followed by two playoff rounds and culminating with the championship game the weekend of April 26-28, 2019.

The eight cities, stadiums, and head coaches are as follows:

  • Orlando Apollos / Spectrum Stadium / Steve Spurrier
  • Atlanta Legends / Georgia State Stadium / Brad Childress
  • Memphis Express / Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium / Mike Singletary
  • Birmingham Iron / Legion Field Stadium / Tim Lewis
  • Salt Lake Stallions / Rice-Eccles Stadium / Dennis Erickson
  • Arizona Hotshots / Sun Devil Stadium / Rick Neuheisel
  • San Diego Fleet / San Diego County Credit Union Stadium / Mike Martz
  • San Antonio Commanders / Alamodome / Mike Riley

Fans will be able to stream Alliance matchups live via the free Alliance app while accessing integrated fantasy options with real rewards — for themselves and the players they are cheering on. With a focus on player well-being on and off the field, The Alliance will provide players with a commitment to safety and state-of-the-art equipment as well as a comprehensive bonus system, post-football career planning, financial counseling and scholarship support for post-secondary education.

For more information, visit www.birminghamiron.com.

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