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Gladiators promote Theus to head coach for 2021 campaign

The Duke City Gladiators didn’t have to schedule a Zoom meeting to lock in their next head coach.

On Monday, the Indoor Football League team officially hired its assistant head coach/offensive coordinator, Martino Theus, to take over the top job.

“Martino has been part of the DCG family for several years,” owner Gina Prieskorn-Thomas said, including the title-winning teams in Champions Indoor Football in 2018 and 2019 under then-head coach Dominic Bramante.

“Because of his strong work ethic, leadership and drive we felt he could lead the Gladiators to more victories.”

The post came open in May when the team and Cornelius “Pig” Brown parted ways before he could coach a game. The coronavirus pandemic wiped out the 2020 IFL season.

At that time, Prieskorn-Thomas said, “We just decided to look for a coach with a little bit more experience as a head coach,” adding that she had narrowed her search to two unidentified veteran coaches. But a change of heart came.

“We decided that we would go forward with that championship mindset we have and stay in-house,” Prieskorn-Thomas said.

On Theus’ staff will be defensive coordinator Fred Griggs, offensive line coach Sherman Carter, defensive line coach Fatu Ulale, QBs and special teams coach Robert Kent, and running backs coach Ray Woods. Theus will stay as OC.

Theus, 45, was a head coach for three teams previously, but might be more well known for his on-field exploits as a receiver. Included was a record-setting 160-catch season in AFL2 for the Rochester (N.Y.) Brigade in 2002.

“I played in every league you could possibly name,” he said.

Even though the 2021 IFL season is seven months off, Theus said he’s been busy teaching at Mitchell Elementary and with his football job.

“I’ve been recruiting really hard the kids who are coming out of college and didn’t get the chance they usually get,” he said.

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