Ron James - Head Coach
20th AFL Season | 1st With The Storm | 1st as Head Coach
Ron James enters his 20th season in the Arena Football League, and his first with the Storm as the team’s head coach. James brings over 30 years of experience to Tampa, eight of which have been spent as head coach. He spent the 2016 season with the Portland Steel, acting as the team’s head coach.
James began his coaching career in 1986 at his alma mater, Siena College, as the team’s linebackers coach. He would spend a season at Siena before moving on to St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY) where he was the team’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 1989-91.
In 1990, James began his AFL career when he was named an assistant coach for the Albany Firebirds. He would return to the collegiate ranks in 1992 when he was introduced as the defensive coordinator for Hartwick College. After two seasons, he moved on to Kentucky Wesleyan College, finally settling in at Army, serving as the team’s offensive line coach for two seasons (1998-99).
James returned to the AFL in 1999 with the Houston ThunderBears, before settling in with the Las Vegas Gladiators as the team’s assistant head coach. He held this position for three seasons before taking over as the team’s head coach in 2005. As the Gladiators’ head coach, James would head a team that would lead the League in both total offense and total defense. In two seasons as head coach, James would help lead the team to multiple team records, including season records in passing yards (4,664) and total yards (4,996).
In 2007, James joined the Utah Blaze, becoming the team’s head coach in 2010. Over four seasons, James led the team to a 30-33 record, including a team best 12-6 record in 2012, earning him AFL Head Coach of the Year honors.
James would eventually be named the head coach of the Pittsburgh Power in 2014, leading the team to a 15-2 record. Known for his defense, the Power led the League in interceptions (36), was second in scoring defense (43.2) and third in total defense (256.0).
A native of Albany, N.Y., James prepped at Christian Brothers Academy (Albany) before enrolling at Siena to play on the offensive line. He played four seasons at Siena, where he was an All-American offensive lineman.
Doug Kay - Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator
18th AFL Season | 5th With The Storm
Doug Kay, who has over 50 years of coaching experience, including 18 in the Arena Football League, joins James’s coaching staff as the team’s assistant head coach, focusing on the development of the secondary. He began his AFL career in 1993 as the defensive coordinator for the ArenaBowl VII Champion Tampa Bay Storm, returning as the special teams coach in 2002 and defensive backs coach in 2013.
He was with the Columbus Destroyers from 2006-08, where as head coach he led the team to its first and only ArenaBowl appearance. In 1997 he was the defensive coordinator for ArenaBowl XI Champion Arizona Rattlers. During his career in the AFL he has served as either the head coach or defensive coordinator with the Albany Firebirds, Charlotte Rage Carolina Cobras and Los Angeles Avengers.
He began his coaching career as a position coach, quarterbacks and defensive backs, at his alma mater Western Illinois in 1960. Kay then spent five seasons as the head coach at Deerfield H.S. (Ill.) prior to returning to the collegiate ranks as the defensive coordinator at Indiana State University for three years. In 1970 Kay was named the head coach at Olivet College (MI). After six seasons he took over the role of offensive coordinator at San Jose State prior to joining UCLA as a defensive assistant coach from 1977-1979.
In 1980, he joined the University of Hawaii as the associate head coach and defensive coordinator for three seasons. He then spent the next four seasons coaching in the USFL with the Boston/New Orleans Breakers, and Tampa Bay Bandits and an additional two seasons in the World League as defensive coordinator with the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks and head coach with Team Dallas prior to joining the coaching ranks of the AFL.
A native of Chicago, Kay served in the U.S. Army for two years from 1954-56. He received a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1961 from Western Illinois University, where he played both football and baseball. On the gridiron, he played under the tutelage of Lou Saban as a quarterback, tight end and punter. He went on to earn a master’s degree in physical education at Indiana State University in 1966.
He and his wife, Dawn, live in the Tampa Bay area and have two children Kimber and Bart.
Gary Gussman - Special Teams Coach
24th AFL Season | 1st With The Storm
Gary Gussman, who has over 20 years of experience in the Arena Football League as a player, coach and team administrator, joins James’ coaching staff as the team’s special teams coach.
Gussman began his AFL career with the Denver Dynamite in 1989. He would play four seasons in the League, one with the Dynamite and three with the Albany Firebirds (1990-92), earning All-Arena honors as a kicker in1989 and 1990.
He began his coaching career in 1995 as the special teams coordinator of the Connecticut Coyotes. Gussman would go on to hold similar positions with the Houston Thunderbears (1998-01), Orlando Predators (2002, 2010-11), Las Vegas Gladiators (2005-06) and the New Orleans VooDoo (2007-08). Gussman also has head coaching experience when he was named the first head coach in Rio Grande Valley Dorados (af2) history in 2004.
Gussman has administrative experience serving as a Director of Football Operations for the Gladiators during the 2005 and 2006 seasons and the VooDoo from 2011-13.
A native of Miami, Gussman played collegiately at Miami (OH) from 1984 to 1987. As a senior, Gussman earned First Team and All-American honors after going 16-of-17 on extra points and converting 20-of-25 field goal attempts. Over the course of his collegiate career, he earned All-MAC honors in three consecutive seasons.
Shane Stafford - Offensive Assistant Coach
10th AFL Season | 7th With The Storm | 2nd as Offensive Assistant Coach
Shane Stafford enters his 10th season in the Arena Football League and seventh with the Storm. It will be Stafford’s second season as the team’s offensive assistant coach. His primary role will be to help develop the quarterbacks and receivers.
Stafford began his AFL career with the Tampa Bay Storm in 2001. He would spend five seasons with the team, becoming one of the greatest statistical quarterbacks in team history. He would finish his career as the team’s all-time leader in pass completions (1,357), pass attempts (2,143), passing yardage (15,667) and passing touchdowns (289), leading the team to four playoff berths in five seasons.
In 2007, Stafford would go on to play two seasons (2007-08) with the Orlando Predators, before moving on to the Dallas Vigilantes in 2010. He would begin his coaching career in 2010 when he transitioned from being the Vigilantes’ starting quarterback to being named the Vigilantes’ offensive coordinator.
Stafford began his professional playing career in 2000, when he played for the Tallahassee Thunder of the af2. He had stints in the National Football League with the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots. Stafford has played internationally with the Scottish Claymores of NFLE. Stafford would finish his AFL career completing 2,113-of-3,293 passes for 24,525 yards and 451 touchdowns.
The Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania native played collegiately at the University of Connecticut. He finished his Huskies career second all-time in passing yards (8,875), attempts (1,026), completions (563) and total offensive yards (8,829). He also tied the school’s all-time passing touchdown record with 73.
Stafford has also coached locally at the high school level, serving as the quarterbacks coach for Tampa Catholic High School.
Austin Wilson - Defensive Line/Linebacker Coach
1st AFL Season | 1st With The Storm | 1st as Defensive Assistant Coach
Austin Wilson joins the Storm full-time as the team’s defensive line and linebackers coach. He previously worked with the team on strength and conditioning training. He has coaching experience in various indoor football leagues.