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Gladiators announce new head coach

The Duke City Gladiators didn’t take much time securing a head football coach after parting ways with longtime sideline boss Dominic Bramante less than two weeks ago.

Cornelius “Pig” Brown, a member of the Indoor Football League Hall of Fame as a player and most recently coach of the IFL’s Nebraska Danger, was announced as the new face of the franchise at a news conference Friday afternoon at Dave & Busters.

He signed earlier in the morning.

“When you think about the Duke City Gladiators you see a championship culture, with a core of great players and great ownership,” Brown said regarding his attraction to the job. “I’m getting ready to go to work now.”

It’s been a whirlwind past three months for New Mexico’s only pro football franchise, which won its second straight indoor title in mid-July (Champions Indoor Football) and soon after opted to join the IFL and is on the verge of signing one of indoor football’s premier quarterbacks in Nate Davis, formerly of Amarillo.

Team owner Gina Prieskorn-Thomas said she received 34 résumés for the coaching position and that she investigated seven of the candidates in greater detail.

“I was very impressed with coach Brown’s ability to recruit and that he developed the IFL rookie of the year quarterback (Tommy Armstrong),” she said. “Plus the fact that he played pro ball and can relate. And we liked his demeanor with the players.”

She also emphasized his knowledge of the IFL and familiarity with working with a limited number of veteran players, those with three-plus years of pro experience. IFL rules stipulate only seven may be on a roster. Duke City played with 11 last season.

Brown was a three-year player at the University of Missouri from 2007-09, participated in minicamps with the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs and later was a star linebacker for the Danger before getting into coaching with the team beginning in 2016. He was an assistant for three seasons until getting the top job last season and leading the Danger to a 7-7 record.

Brown’s arrival drew high praise from Duke City wide receiver Dello Davis, who led the CIF with 26 touchdowns last year. He said he has fond memories of playing for Nebraska in 2017 when Brown was an assistant.

“He’s a great coach and a great man,” Davis said. “He’s a great fit here. … I’m proud and happy we’re on a new road with him.”

Meanwhile, Nate Davis is excited to team with Dello Davis.

“If you can’t beat them why not join them?” Nate Davis said regarding his move to Duke City after seeing the Gladiators beat out his team for the CIF title the past two seasons.

“I came here because I wanted to play with Dello and because it’s a great organization. Yesterday I even got to throw to Dello for the first time.”

SCHEDULE: The league meetings are set for next weekend, at which point the 2020 schedule will be announced.

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