By Matt Popchock
Sometimes in sports, all a failing individual needs to succeed is a change of surroundings, and Derek Stingley hopes going from one football-friendly town to another is the change he needs.
The Pittsburgh Power essentially swapped defensive coordinators Friday, letting go of Maurice “Mo” Blanding, and hiring former New Orleans VooDoo head coach Derek Stingley to fill the position.
Blanding has taken the same job with the VooDoo.
In 2009 Stingley served as defensive coordinator for the VooDoo before being promoted head coach in 2011. He was fired June 26 after they limped to a 2-12 start, and eventually finished a league-low 3-15.
“Adding someone of Derek’s experience, both as a player and coach will be a great help to me and our players,” said head coach Chris Siegfried.
Stingley certainly does bring with him an extensive arena football background, not to mention one of the more dubious surnames in pro football history. His father, the late Darryl Stingley, was a wide receiver and first-round draftee by the New England Patriots whose career ended on an infamous head-first hit by the Oakland Raiders’ Jack Tatum.
Stingley has coached the game since joining the Macon Knights of the now-defunct AF2 developmental league as defensive coordinator in 2005. He was promoted to head coach of the struggling Knights during that season and turned the team around, leading it to the playoffs. During his two-year tenure, he coached a total of 18 players to All-AF2 team recognition. He then became head coach of South Georgia, posting a 30-13 record over three seasons, and was named AF2 Head Coach of the Year in 2008.
Stingley’s AFL playing career was an illustrious one, starting with his rookie campaign with the Albany Firebirds in 1996. He went on to play with four other teams, winning an ArenaBowl title with the Firebirds, and was a First Team All-Arena defensive back. He is also a member of the AFL 15-Year Anniversary Team.
“Stingley was drawing interest from many teams, and we are excited he chose to be a part of what we are building in Pittsburgh,” said Power owner and GM Matt Shaner.
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