Lawrence Samuels - Head Coach
19th AFL Season | 18th With The Storm | 1st as Head Coach
18th season with the Storm – 19th season in the AFL – First as Head Coach
The Tampa Bay Storm and Arena Football League Hall of Famer, Lawrence Samuels, enters his first season as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Storm. This is his 18th season with the Storm and 19th in the Arena Football League. He spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach.
Before joining the Storm coaching staff in 2012, he spent the 2011 season as the wide receivers coach at Central State (Wilberforce, OH) where he was the passing game coordinator and assisted in coaching the special teams units. Prior to that he was the consummate professional and veteran wider receiver with the Tampa Bay Storm where he assisted in the development of new and rookie receivers teaching them how to break down film and write up scouting reports.
During his tenure as a wide receiver with the Storm he held several high school coaching positions where he instructed high school athletes in the fundamentals of the wide receiver and defensive back positions, as well as assembled weekly scouting reports and film breakdowns.
He also coached for USA football at their numerous summer football camps sponsored by the National Football League. His duties included fundamental and skills teaching at the wide receiver and defensive back positions and tutoring team skills, life skills and leadership.
Samuels served two stints as the wide receiver coach at his alma mater West Alabama, where he learned the intricacies of coaching, coordinating the passing game, mentoring and advising student-athletes, coordinating conditioning programs, recruiting student-athletes and monitoring NCAA academic rules and regulations.
He was the AFL’s all-time leading wide receiver prior to the end of his career. He was the first player in AFL history to record 1,000 receptions and the sixth player ever in professional football to reach that milestone. He retired as the Storm all-time 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) and was second in all-purpose yards (11,651) and interceptions (32).
He is one of only two players in the history of the AFL to earn both MVP and Ironman of the Game honors in an Arena Bowl. He was a member of three AFL Championships teams and one of the greatest two-way players to ever play the game of Arena Football. He will be inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame during the 2014 season.
He and his wife Kellei live in Wesley Chapel with their two daughters Landry and Wilson.
Lawrence Samuels’s Coaching Career
Chris Hovan - Defensive Coordinator
2nd Season with Tampa Bay – 2nd Season in AFL
Hovan enters his second season with the Tampa Bay Storm as the team’s defensive coordinator. He joined the team last season as its defensive line coach. Prior to joining the Storm he spent two years at the University of South Florida where he was a member of the Strength and Conditioning Staff for the athletic program
He began as an intern on the staff in 2011 working directly with the football program and assisted with 14 other sports as well. In 2012 he was promoted to Assistant Strength and Conditioning coach working specifically with the football program.
An 11-year veteran of the National Football League, Hovan began his career as a first-round draft pick (25th overall) for the Minnesota Vikings. After five seasons with the Vikings, during which time he was a consensus All-Rookie pick (2000) and earned All-Pro honors (2002), he signed a free-agent contract that would bring him to the Tampa Bay area to play with the Buccaneers.
In his first season with the Buccaneers (2005), the defense finished as top unit in the NFL. He would spend five seasons with Tampa Bay prior to joining the St. Louis Rams. A back injury derailed him for the 2010 season, his 11th in the NFL, and he was placed on injured reserve during training camp for the remainder of the season.
For his career, Hovan appeared in 156 games and started 149 of them. He finished his career with 362 tackles, 22 sacks, 14 pass breakups and two forced fumbles.
A native of Rocky River, OH, Hovan prepped at St, Ignatius H.S. (Cleveland, OH) where he was a star football and lacrosse player, earning state and national recognition in each sport. He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in business from Boston College where earned All-America honors and was a semi-finalist for the Lombardi Award his senior season. Hovan was the first player in school history to earn All-Big East honors three times. He started 43-of-45 games while at BC and still ranks third all-time in career sacks (20.5) and tackles for a loss (43). While still playing in the NFL, he participated in the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern.