TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Storm and Lawrence Samuels have mutually agreed to separate, team president Derrick Brooks announced this morning. The team will begin a search for a new head coach immediately.
“I want to thank Lawrence for his hard work and dedication to the Tampa Bay Storm as our head coach,” said Brooks. “We both agreed that the mutual decision to separate is what’s best for both parties moving forward. We wish Lawrence all of the best in his pursuit of other coaching opportunities.”
Named the sixth head coach in franchise history on September 5, 2013, the 2016 season was Samuels third at the helm and his 20th overall with the franchise. He joined the Storm coaching staff in 2012 as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator.
“I want to thank the Tampa Bay Storm organization for giving me the opportunity to be its head coach these past three seasons,” said Samuels. “I have many great memories from my time here as a player and a coach, and I want to thank the fans for all of their support. The Storm, and the fans, will always hold a place close to my heart.”
Samuels spent 15 seasons with the Storm as a player and was a member of three ArenaBowl Championship teams. The AFL Hall of Famer finished his career as the franchise leader in receptions (967), receiving yards (11,078), receiving touchdowns (160), points scored (1,076), fumble recoveries (32), forced fumbles (20) and tackles (455.5). He was also the first player in AFL history to record 1,000 receptions; the sixth player ever in professional football history to reach that milestone.
The Storm ended the 2016 Arena Football League season this past Sunday with a 63-41 loss at Philadelphia in the first round of the AFL Postseason.