Jeff Vinik - Chairman
Jeff Vinik purchased the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 3, 2010, promising a comprehensive transformation of the franchise and pledging to make a significant positive impact in the Tampa Bay community. Upon acquiring the Lightning, Vinik, now 55, pledged to make the Lightning organization “world-class,” creating a first-rate fan experience while putting together a team of which Tampa Bay sports fans would be proud, on and off the ice. He often asks, “Why can’t the Tampa Bay Lightning be the Green Bay Packers of the National Hockey League?”
Vinik promptly hired hockey Hall-of-Famer and four-time Stanley Cup Champion Steve Yzerman as Vice President and General Manager, and then named lauded sports business executive Tod Leiweke as the Chief Executive Officer of the Lightning. In January of 2011, Vinik detailed a vision that included a team inspired by championship values; an organization committed to Tampa Bay, giving back through leadership, mentoring and charitable contributions; and a state-of-the-art venue.
That vision began with a new logo and jersey system that debuted for the 2011-12 NHL season, and a privately-funded building renovation to the publicly-owned Tampa Bay Times Forum (now named Amalie Arena) that totaled more than $60 million. The renovation concluded during the summer of 2012 when the organization installed the largest center-hung, high-definition vision board in any arena in the United States and Canada, a $5 million investment.
Vinik, along with his wife, Penny, made an impact in the Tampa Bay community in 2011 by pledging more than $10 million to be donated through the Lightning Foundation over five years to the Lightning Community Heroes program. The Heroes program honors a local hero and a representative charity with $50,000 at all of the team’s 41 home games each season. To date, more than $6 million has been donated to more than 200 local non-profits in honor of 125 community heroes.
The organization also committed 4,000 hours of community service each season through its employee volunteer program, C.H.A.R.G.E. (Contributing Hours Across our Region through our Generous Employees). Since the program’s inception, Lightning staff members have surpassed their goal each year and volunteered more than 5,000 hours annually at various charitable outings around the Bay area.
Vinik and his family increased their commitment to Tampa Bay in 2012, moving to South Tampa from the Boston area. Jeff and Penny served as the chairs of the American Cancer Society’s 2012 Cattle Baron’s Ball, and the family extended its charitable giving in the Tampa Bay community beyond the heroes program, directly touching local non-profits, including the Florida Aquarium, Tampa Museum of Art, the United Way of Suncoast, Metropolitan Ministries, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay and Tampa Preparatory School. Penny Vinik is the chair of a community arts initiative which is enabling Tampa Bay-based artists to display their works throughout Amalie Arena and she is a board member of Tampa Museum of Art and Tampa Preparatory School.
On the ice, Vinik’s Lightning have experienced several short-term successes while Yzerman has implemented a plan for the organization, with the long-term goal of competing at a high level and being an annual Stanley Cup contender. The Lightning organization’s depth has been greatly improved since Vinik bought the team, winning the AHL’s Calder Cup championship in 2012 and reaching the Calder Cup Final in 2013. Yzerman and the hockey operations department continue to stress drafting and development while the players that have had success as the AHL level have now become part of the core in Tampa Bay.
Away from Amalie Arena, Vinik’s Strategic Property Partners, LLC (SPP) has purchased numerous parcels of land around the arena in recent years, including Channelside Bay Plaza, a retail complex to the east, in July of 2014. Also in 2014, SPP announced plans for a hotel, retail and residential complex on a parking lot to the immediate west of Amalie Arena. Vinik’s hope is to revitalize Tampa’s Channel District and create synergy between attractions in the area with the arena acting as the centerpiece.
Vinik grew up in New Jersey, and attended high school at Riverdale Country School in New York City, before graduating from Duke University (1981) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and Economics. Jeff went on to earn his Masters of Business Administration degree from the Harvard Business School, graduating in 1985.
He was awarded Duke University’s Distinguished Young Alumni Award in 1994 and he later served on the Duke University Board of Trustees. In May, 2012 the family made a $10 million donation to Duke to establish a faculty challenge fund that is being used to hire and retain professors who focus on complex societal challenges such as engineering and related areas in energy, global health, brain sciences and the environment.
Jeff and Penny reside in South Tampa and have four children: Danny, Jared, Kyra, and Joshua.
Tod Leiweke - Chief Executive Officer
Tod Leiweke (LIGH-wih-kee) was named chief executive officer of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, which includes the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Storm and the Tampa Bay Times Forum, on July 26, 2010. He also serves as an Alternate Governor for the Lightning. Leiweke is responsible for all business operations of the Lightning, Storm and the Times Forum.
Leiweke, who is in his 31st season in professional sports, helped rejuvenate the Lightning fan base. Spurred by an improved product on the ice which saw the Lightning tie the franchise record for wins in a season with 46 in 2010-11 and advance to the Eastern Conference Final, Leiweke led the team’s transformation off the ice which has resulted in the more than doubling of the team’s season ticket base while vastly increasing its footprint in the community.
In 2012, the Storm donned a new jersey and logo, with all season ticket members receiving their own revolutionary jersey with a chip implanted in the jersey that granted them access to a variety of benefits. The Times Forum itself underwent a $40 million, privately-funded renovation during the summer of 2011, completed for the 2012 Arena Football season. Highlights of the project, spearheaded by Leiweke, include a signature stage with pipe organ, new seats throughout the arena, reconstructed executive suites, a paradise deck overlooking downtown and a grand entry with an open-air box office and merchandise store.
Under Leiweke the team continues to grow as a member of the community, committing more than 4,000 hours of community service through its employees and the distribution of $10-million over five years to community heroes through the Lightning Foundation and the Vinik family. Along with his wife, Tara, Leiweke serves as an honorary chair at the annual FARA Energy Ball’s held in Tampa. The event promotes research and raises awareness for Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA), a rare debilitating neuromuscular disease that is caused by a lack of energy production required for human cells to function properly.
Leiweke was previously CEO of the Seattle Seahawks and Vulcan Sports & Entertainment for seven years, also overseeing all aspects of the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Sounders FC. He was also president of First & Goal Inc., which operates Qwest Field and Qwest Field Event Center for the state of Washington. Leiweke was recognized for his efforts in 2009 being named a finalist by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal as the 2009 Sports Executive of Year. Along with that nomination, he was named CEO of the Year by the Puget Sound Business Journal and also CEO of the Year by the Seattle Sports Commission.
In 2005, Qwest Field was named by The Sporting News as the finest venue in the NFL. That year the team won the NFC Championship and advanced to their first Super Bowl. The on-field success also helped spur an unprecedented string of sellouts. His leadership also helped Sounders FC set a MLS record for season ticket sales more than six months before the first home game. Leiweke chaired a 2008-09 United Way campaign that raised more than $100 million to help fight family homelessness, capped with a climb of Mt. Rainier (14,410 ft) alongside Roger Goodell. Leiweke was instrumental in forming the “Spirit of 12” Partnerships which has raised more than $1.5 million.
Before joining the Seahawks, Leiweke served as president of the Minnesota Wild and chief operating officer of Minnesota Sports & Entertainment. Under Leiweke’s leadership the Sports Fans of America Association, Inc. awarded its 2003 NHL Sports Fan’s Quality Award to the Wild as the league’s “Fan Friendliest” team. In an ESPN survey conducted in 2003, the team was ranked number one for stadium experience and number two for fan relationships among 123 sports franchises. Leiweke has also held executive positions with the PGA Tour, the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.
Leiweke is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and is married to Tara. The couple has two children and reside in South Tampa.
Derrick Brooks - President, Tampa Bay Storm
Derrick joined the Tampa Bay Storm as team president in April of 2011. This is his fifth season as President of the Storm. He is responsible for the overall day-to-day operations of the team. Brooks has led the charge to remold the team to fit in with the “world-class” vision of team chairman and owner Jeff Vinik. He has spearheaded the effort of the team to recast itself as the preeminent team of the AFL as the team enters its 28th season.
A long-time fixture in the Tampa Bay community Brook brings a wealth of football experience as well as keen business acumen to the Storm. Recognized for his hard work in the community as much as he is for his hard hits on the football field, Brooks remains one of the most community-minded players in the NFL and has parlayed that into a lasting impression on the Tampa Bay community. Through his foundation, Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc., Brooks has made it his life's mission to positively impact the lives of youth in the Tampa Bay area and beyond.
The Brooks Bunch program served as the cornerstone of Derrick’s community involvement leading the way for the formation of Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc. The Brooks Bunch was founded in 1997, and consisted of youth from the Wilbert Davis, Ybor City, and Brandon Boys & Girls Clubs. As a rookie, Brooks began to visit the Boys & Girls Clubs as a way to encourage and motivate the children to excel in the classroom. During one visit, Brooks realized through conversation with a young girl that the kids at the club had not experienced things that average Americans take for granted. Thus, the idea behind the Brooks Bunch was born.
What started as a day trip on an airplane to Fort Lauderdale has blossomed into a program that incorporates a classroom element, a panel presentation, and behavior and grade assessments, all while leading up to trips around the country and around the globe. Brooks has accompanied his Bunch on seven educational journeys altogether, including a college tour to New York, Chicago, and Tallahassee, and trips to Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and the western United States. In 2000 and 2005, Brooks Bunch members who earned their way traveled with Brooks to South Africa where they visited Johannesburg, Cape Town, Robben Island, and Sabi Sabi safari camp.
In addition to the Brooks Bunch program, Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc., includes annual programs such as the college preparatory program “First and Goal” which prepares first-generation college attendees for their next step in life – post secondary education, something that never looked like a reality to them. The Brooks Bunch Scholarship Program provides Semester Stipends for the students that have successfully completed the First and Goal Program and qualify with program minimums of 12 credit hours and a minimum GPA of 2.5. Derrick’s outreach also includes the Rites of Passage Program, a mentoring program for young ladies. Other initiatives include the annual Game Day Ticket Program, Thanksgiving Feeding and Christmas Party.
In August of 2007, Derrick realized one of his lifelong goals with the opening of the Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School, a public charter school sponsored by Hillsborough County Public Schools. There are currently over 250 students enrolled with a three-year goal of reaching a total enrollment of 500. Through a partnership with the DeBartolo family, and a strong board of directors, Derrick was able to oversee the implementation of the only traditional charter high school in the Tampa Bay area. Brooks-DeBartolo’s mission is to provide a rigorous and relevant academic environment where both students and teachers achieve excellence through high expectations, collaboration and support.
Brooks has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the 2000 Walter Payton/NFL Man of the Year award, the 2003 Bart Starr Award, and the 2004 Bryon "Whizzer" White Award, and the 2008 JB Award through the NFL Players association, all of which recognize an NFL player annually for their commitment to the communities in which they live. In addition, he received the 2013 Arena Football League Commissioner’s Award which recognized his efforts in turning the Storm into a model organization for the rest of the league.
From 2003 to 2011, Brooks occupied a seat on the board of trustees of Florida State University, a position to which he was appointed to by former Governor Jeb Bush. Brooks attended FSU where he was a four-year letterman on his way to becoming a First Team All-American, a First Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, and a participant in the Senior Bowl during his senior season. Brooks graduated from FSU with a Bachelor's degree in business communications before adding his Master's in the same subject in 1999. In 2006, Derrick also received his Doctorate in Humane Letters from St. Leo’s University.
Derrick has also joined the boards of the Florida Department of Education Foundation, St. Leo’s University and Brooks-DeBartolo Charities, Inc. In 2007 he was appointed by Governor Charlie Christ as the Chairman for the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, helping to address the issue of childhood obesity in the State of Florida.
In 2009, Derrick expanded his career as a football commentator on First Take for ESPN, and the Morning Drive with Bob Papas on the SIRIUS Satellite Radio NFL Station. He also hosted the Derrick Brooks Radio Show on AM 620 WDAE from 1997 to 2009 and currently he co-hosts the Legends Hour with Steve Duemig, a show they have done since 2009.
Derrick Brooks has long been one of the most respected players in the National Football League. A seasoned veteran of the NFL, Brooks holds the distinction of being the only Buccaneers player to be named to 11 Pro Bowls. He started over 200 consecutive games, at the time, most among active NFL defenders. His ability to run down some of the league's top playmakers led Brooks to become the most prolific tackler in Buccaneers history with over 1,900 career tackles.
The 2002 season ranks as the best of Derrick’s career, during which he led Tampa Bay to its first Super Bowl championship, was named AP Defensive Player of the Year and racked up numerous All-Pro and MVP team honors from various sports publications and organizations. Brooks is just the fifth player in NFL history whose career accomplishments include the trifecta of ten consecutive Pro Bowl appearances, AP Defensive Player of the Year honors, and a Super Bowl championship. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2014 on February 1, 2014.
Derrick is married to Carol and has four children, Brianna Monai, Derrick Brooks, Jr., Darius Dewan, and Dania Denice.
Awards and Recognition
In the Community
* Founder of Derrick Brooks Charities
* Co-founder of Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School
* 2000 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award - honoring a player's volunteer and charity work, as well as his excellence on the field.
* 2003 Bart Starr Award - honoring a player's commitment to serving as a positive role model to his family, teammates, and community.
* 2004 Byron “Whizzer” White Award - honors work in the community as the NFL player who best served his team, community and country in the spirit of Byron "Whizzer" White, who was a Supreme Court justice, professional football player and humanitarian.
* 2008 JB Award through the NFL Players Association
* 2011 Tampa Bay Business Journal Up & Comers Award
* 2013 Arena Football League Commissioner’s Award
* 2014 Arena Football League Executive of the Year
* Florida State University Board of Trustee (2003-2011)
* Chairman for the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, State of Florida, 2007
* Served on various boards: Florida Department of Education Foundation, St. Leo University and Brooks-Debartolo Collegiate High School
On the Field
* Florida State University - four-year letterman, Two-time College Football All-America Team, Three-time All-ACC First-Team, 1993 ACC Defensive Player of the Year
* Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Super Bowl XXXVII winner, 2002 AP Defensive Player of the Year, 11-time Pro Bowl selection, Nine-time All-Pro selection, 2004 Pro Bowl MVP
*Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2014
Steve Griggs - Chief Operating Officer
Steve Griggs was named chief operating officer of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Storm and Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 31, 2010. As chief operating officer, Mr. Griggs oversees the organization’s broadcast and community relations, game presentation, and marketing departments; ticket sales and service, suite sales and service, and the sponsorship department, which includes corporate partnerships, service, and activation. He also oversees all concerts and events held at the Times Forum.
During Griggs’s first season on the job, the Lightning saw a significant increase in attendance from the previous season, jumping nearly 12 percent from 15,497 per game in 2009-10 to 17,269 in 2010-11. That can be attributed to increases in brand management, increased value, enhanced customer service as well as overall fan experience. Under Griggs’ guidance, the Bolts also saw a significant boost in corporate partnerships as well as higher renewal and activation rates. The Lightning also posted a season ticket renewal rate of more than 90 percent during the summer of 2011 and nearly doubled the previous year’s base with the addition of new sales.
Griggs was instrumental in generating the Bolts’ “ALL IN” campaign that galvanized the fan base and served as a rallying cry during the 2010-11 season and the team’s subsequent trip to within one game of the Stanley Cup Final. He played an integral role in the Tampa Bay Times Forum’s $40 million transformation which enhanced the experiences of fans, season ticket members, and corporate partners. In 2011 ESPN the Magazine named Tampa Bay the No. 2 team of 123 major sports franchises in their “Ultimate Standings”, marking the second consecutive year a team with Griggs as an executive had ranked second, after he helped the NBA’s Orlando Magic earn the distinction the previous year.
Before coming to Tampa Bay, he spent nearly three years serving as executive vice president of sales and marketing for the Magic. During his time in Orlando, Griggs oversaw the Orlando Magic’s corporate partnerships, premium sales and services, season ticket services and operations, brand management, event presentation, and ticket sales departments. Griggs also directed strategic sales and marketing efforts for the new Amway Center, which opened in October 2010.
Griggs was instrumental in growing the Orlando season ticket base to over 14,000, sporting 75 consecutive sellouts and ranking second overall in the ESPN Ultimate Standing. Griggs also established the Champions of the Community partnership program for the team’s founding partners of the new Amway Center. He led all digital signage platforms that made the Amway Center one of the most technologically advanced buildings in North America. Griggs re-engineered the Magic brand while introducing a new primary logo, new third jersey and establishing the BeMagic and EnterLegend campaigns.
Prior to joining the Magic, Griggs served for eight years as the vice president of sales and service for the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League and its parent company, Minnesota Sports & Entertainment (MSE). At Minnesota, Griggs’s responsibilities included overseeing all Minnesota Wild and MSE ticket sales and service, corporate sales and service, suite sales and service, retail operations as well as group and event suite sales. Under his leadership, the club entered its seventh NHL season having sold out every home game in franchise history, posting 284 consecutive sellouts.
Prior to joining the Wild, Griggs served as the vice president of corporate sales and service for Sportsco International, LP and SkyDome. The Aurora, Ontario native also worked for both the NBA’s Toronto Raptors (1994-99) and the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs (1998-99) as the director of ticket sales and service, where he led the sales and relocation efforts from historic Maple Leaf Gardens into Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Griggs, and his wife, Janell, have a daughter, Madeline, and a son, Jack.
Elmer Straub - AFL Board Member
Elmer Straub is Vice President, Event Booking for AMALIE Arena and sits on the Board of Directors for the Arena Football League. In his role as V.P. of Event Booking, Straub is responsible for filling the 21,500 seat arena on a regular basis. In addition to facilitating scheduling for the 2003 ArenaBowl champion Tampa Bay Storm of the AFL and 2004 Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League, Straub is credited with maintaining the arena as one of the nation’s busiest venues on an annual basis.
After working for three seasons in Van Andel Arena in his native Grand Rapids, Michigan, Straub joined the staff in Tampa as Event Coordinator in 2000. In that role, he served as the building’s lead liaison for events, concerts and family shows, ensuring smooth conversion and event production. Three years later, Straub was elevated to Director of Event Booking, becoming responsible for driving people into AMALIE Arena, which is considered the economic engine of downtown Tampa.
In his current position, Straub maintains business relationships and negotiates contracts with the nation’s biggest booking agents, talent managers and promoters including Live Nation, AEG Live, Feld Entertainment, WWE and more, booking the nation’s top musical acts, events and family shows. Straub also directs the internal execution of those contracts, working with the arena’s marketing, ticketing, accounting and event services department, ensuring each event’s success.
Under his leadership, the arena has earned kudos as one of North America’s busiest venues of its size, continually being cited by publications like Billboard, Pollstar and Venues Today for concert and event ticket sales and grosses.
Straub, 42, resides with his wife Amanda, son Maxwell and their English Bulldog Russell in Tampa. He graduated from Grand Rapids’ Aquinas College in 1994 with a B.A. in Communication, having also played four years of collegiate men’s basketball. Straub went on to earn his Masters of Sport Administration from Central Michigan University in 1998.
Jeff Gooch - Vice President, Football Operations
Jeff Gooch enters his fourth season as Vice President of Football operations with the Tampa Bay Storm. He joined the Storm in April of 2011. Gooch is responsible for overseeing the day to day operations of the club, including, but not limited to, managing players and personnel, team finances and budgets, travel plans and football operations staff.
Gooch coame to the Storm following a stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL as their BLESTO scout. His duties with the Jaguars included scouting college football programs and their athletes across the southeast for draft purposes. Prior to joining the Jaguars scouting personnel, Gooch interned with the Jaguars scouting staff for two seasons.
Gooch played 10 seasons as a linebacker in the National Football League for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-2001, 2004-05) and Detroit Lions (2002-03). He began his NFL career as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Buccaneers in 1996 and was teammates with Storm President Derrick Brooks and defensive backs coach Donnie Abraham. During his career he recorded 282 tackles, two sacks, and one interception in 137 games. Gooch was named the Yale Lary Award winner as the Detroit Lions special teams MVP in 2002.
Gooch attended Austin Peay University, where he played from 1992-95 and graduated with a degree in business administration. Gooch recently finished work on his master’s in business administration with the University of Phoenix. He was born to Georgia and Billy Gooch on October 31, 1974 in Nashville, Tennessee. Jeff attended John Overton H.S. (Nashville, TN) where in addition to playing football, he ran track and field. Gooch and his wife, Tonya, have a son, Dorien (11) and live in the Tampa Bay area.
Dave Wilson - Director of Player Personnel
Fourth AFL Season – Fourth with the Storm
Wilson enters his fourth season with the Tampa Bay Storm. Wilson adds more than 25 years football experience to the Tampa Bay Storm staff, having won championships at several levels including a Division I NCAA National Championship, Division II NCAA National Championship, Florida State High School Championship, a Southeastern Conference Championship and an Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. While serving as the director of player personnel, he also is a coach for Football University and the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Prior to joining the Storm he served as the special teams coach and recruiting coordinator for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets where he played an instrumental role in the recruitment of such players as Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson and Tashard Choice.
Wilson joined the Yellow Jackets staff after spending five seasons with Jackie Sherrill at Mississippi State where he served as the director of football operations, recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach during his tenure. He also served two one year stints with the Florida State Seminoles under the tutelage of legendary head coach Bobby Bowden.
He also made coaching stops at Nicholls State, where he served as the assistant head coach, and at Troy State from 1983-85 where he was a part of the 1984 Division II National Championship team. Additionally he spent eight years coaching high school football in Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach where he had the opportunity to coach Derrick Brooks, Danny Wuerffel and E.G. Green among many others.
A United States Air Force Vietnam era veteran and native of Atlanta, Georgia, he is married to the former Tammy Groce of Athens, Alabama and the couple has a daughter Holly, son-in-law, Josh and son Austin who is a member of the U.S. Navy, as well as five grandchildren.
Dave Wilson’s Coaching Career
Ben Shotten - Media Relations Manager
Ben Shotten enters his fourth season with the Tampa Bay Storm. His responsibilities include public, media and community relations as well as production of the Storm media guide, game day programs, game notes and media packets. He is also the primary contact for player and coach interviews.
The Commack, New York native, served as an intern and media relations assistant with the Storm in 2012 where his duties included game day preparation, assisting in the preparation of game notes, drafting press releases, creating and editing original content, and other various duties.
Prior to joining the Storm, Shotten was an attorney with a law firm in Lansing, Michigan, and practiced in several areas of the law.
Shotten graduated from the State University of New York at Albany and received a Juris Doctor degree from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He also holds a Master of Sport Administration from Canisius College. Shotten is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, and licensed to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan. He lives in Riverview.
Chris Ramenda - Football Operations Manager
Chris Ramenda enters his fourth season with the Tampa Bay Storm. This is his second season as Football Operations Manager. His responsibilities include assisting VP of Football Operations, Jeff Gooch, assisting in player personnel, gameday operations, setting up and filming practice, and editing game film.
Prior to joining the Storm, Ramenda worked in football operations for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the University of South Florida Bulls, and the San Jose SaberCats. His experience in the Arena Football League began with the SaberCats in the 2008 season. That year, working in player personnel, scouting, and assisting in player development, he helped San Jose win the Western Conference Championship, reaching Arena Bowl XXII.
Ramenda graduated from the University of Florida in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management, where he was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Paul Brace - Head Equipment Manager
Brace enters his first season with the Tampa Bay Storm as the Head Equipment Manager. He oversees and maintains all players’ equipment for practices and games, ordering and inventory of coach and player apparel and equipment, daily practice and game laundry duties, and coordinating transportation and setup of team’s equipment for home and away games.
Before joining the Storm staff Brace worked for the Lakeland Flying Tigers, the minor league affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. Brace spent two full seasons in Lakeland as the team’s Club House Manager.
The Tampa, Florida native is a longtime fan of the Storm and was a fixture on the sidelines growing up as a child. He lives in Brandon, FL.
Leigh Baker - Head Athletic Trainer
Leigh enters his second season with the Storm as Head Athletic Trainer. His responsibilities include: providing athletic training services to the team under the supervision of the team physician, keeping record of all injuries and treatments, as well as acting as a liaison between the team physician, front office personnel, coaches, and athletes.
He also works with the Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel assisting in outpatient rehabilitation.
Prior to joining the Storm, Leigh provided extra coverage for Tampa Prepatory School, was the athletic trainer for Mitchell High School football (Trinity, FL), and spent two years as a graduate assistant athletic trainer at Saint Leo University.
Leigh graduated from the University of South Florida Class of 2009 with a B.S. degree in Athletic Training. A native of Wesley Chapel, FL, Leigh currently resides in Dade City, FL with his wife and 3 dogs.
Kindra Ebanks - Director, Storm Cheerleaders
Kindra, a Tampa native, has been involved with cheerleading and dance for more than 20 years. The majority of her dance experience comes from many years of technical training, competing and performing with a local studio. Growing up in Tampa, Kindra’s desire to continue performing during college led her to the Tampa Bay Storm. Starting in 1998 she spent three seasons as a Storm Cheerleader, also serving as captain. Kindra took over the Director position in the championship year of 2003.
While Directing the Storm Cheerleaders, Kindra was selected by the AFL to be Co-Director and Choreographer for the ArenaBowl XVII All-Star Dancers in 2004 and also for the Aaron’s AFL Dream Team at ArenaBowl XIX in 2005.
From 2002-2006 Kindra served as the assistant coach for the nationally ranked University of South Florida dance team, the SunDolls.
Kindra continues to share her knowledge and love of the sport by judging auditions for local teams as well as speaking to coaches at seminars around the bay area.
Dr. Jonathan Phillips - Medical Director
Dr. Jonathan Phillips is the official team physician for the Tampa Bay Storm. He is a fellowship trained primary care sports medicine physician. He has taken care of the Tampa Bay Storm in the past as well as USF athletics including football, soccer and basketball.
Dr. Phillips has also staffed events such as the 70.3-triathlon world championships, and the East-West College Football All-Star shrine game.
Dr. Phillips completed his residency in Latrobe, Pennsylvania in family medicine and also completed a sports medicine fellowship at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Dr. Susan Welsh - Chiropractor
Dr Welsh has been with the Storm since the team’s first season in Tampa Bay at the Thunderdome to the team’s current location at the Forum. She is the team Chiropractor for the University of South Florida's Athletic Teams since 1982. She is also a clinical instructor for USF and has an office in the Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare on campus as well as an office in Carrollwood.
She remains involved with the Community on the SWFWMD Basin Board, Leadership Tampa Bay, and as a Trustee for Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.
Dr. Welsh and her husband Tom Martin, a former wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles resides in Odessa.
Bryanna Reveiz - Administrative Coordinator
Bryanna enters her first season with the Tampa Bay Storm. She will assist Derrick Brooks and Jeff Gooch with daily administrative functions of football operations.
Bryanna grew up in Knoxville, TN and graduated from the University of Tennessee in May of 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management.
Prior to joining the Storm, Bryanna worked throughout college with the University of Tennessee as a Football Operations Student Assistant, interned with Team Operations for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and worked Training Camp for the Minnesota Vikings and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Growing up in a football family, Bryanna has been involved in sports her whole life. In her spare time she enjoys working out and playing/coaching volleyball.
John Franzone - Vice President of Event Production and Entertainment
Ryan Cook - Director Storm Ticket Sales
Ryan Niemeyer - Director of Group Sales
James Royer - Director of Digital & Social Media
Amy Bigelow - Corporate Partnership Activation Coordinator
Kelley Cureton - Community Relations Coordinator
Jack Harris - Play-by-Play
Jack is the most popular and recognized media personality in Tampa Bay. Currently he co-hosts A.M. Tampa Bay, on 970 WFLA, often the highest rated morning show in Tampa Bay. He came to the Tampa Bay area in 1970 and was on the original broadcast team for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL). Jack went on to join the broadcast teams for the Tampa Bay Bandits (USFL) and the University of South Florida Bulls basketball team as well as the professional soccer team Tampa Bay Rowdies. Jack first called a Storm game in 1991, including when the Storm beat the Marcum-led Detroit Drive for its first championship. He also called the Storm in 1993 and has been a permanent fixture in the radio booth since his return in 1997.
He has been the voice of The Jerry Lewis Telethon, Gasparilla and Festival of States Parade coverage. Jack hosted The Buccaneers Coach’s Show for five seasons during which time he asked then Buccaneer Head Coach John McKay about the team's execution after a particular game, and McKay famously replied, "I think executing them is a good idea." He has also been a part of numerous other shows including the Noon Show and Pulse Plus on Channel 13; hosted “Harris Live” at weekdays on WFLA-TV Channel 8; was a restaurant reviewer on Baynews 9 and did a commentary on ABC Action News Channel 28. Additionally he has been the voice of the Outback Bowl for the past 27 years.
Born and reared in a small town in West Virginia Jack graduated Valedictorian of Logan High School prior to attending Davidson College. He went on to graduate from West Virginia University with a B.A. in History and then served two years as an officer in the U.S. Army. He and his wife Joy have one son Jackson.
Darek Sharp - Color Analyst
This is Darek’s fifth season on the Storm radio broadcast team. He has been a member of the Tampa Bay sports radio scene since 1988 when he began working at WPLA-AM, which would in 1990 turn into Tampa's first all-sports station, WFNS. While at WFNS, he worked as a producer for Steve Duemig and directed the Tampa Bay Lightning broadcasts, duties he continued doing after WFNS was sold and the Sports Animal-WDAE was born in 1997.
In 2001 he became the morning Sports Attack man for the top sports radio station in the Tampa Bay market, WDAE, delivering the updates every morning. Currently he is the producer of the Ron & Ian show weekly from 9 AM until 12 PM and he also covers high school sports for the leading newspaper in Florida, the Tampa Bay Times.