If you think that there has been a lot of change that has gone on with the Duke City Gladiators, you’re right.
The back-to-back Champions Indoor Football (CIF) league champions have made significant changes to their franchise for the upcoming 2020 arena football season, first by making a move to the Indoor Football League (IFL). The change comes on the heels of an expansion the IFL is conducting for the upcoming season. Duke City was the first team announced to be a part of this expansion process.
“Just lots of really exciting things going on,” said Gina Prieskorn-Thomas, owner of the Gladiators franchise. “The arena (Tingley Coliseum) is gonna be making some changes for us; the venue is going to be improved. There will be some rookies that we’ll be pulling up, but our core is intact from the championship. Our sponsorship packages have come out, and they also have some great values to it as well.”
Prieskorn-Thomas, who is a born and raised native of Albuquerque, took sole ownership of the team last season, and will now enter her second season running this Duke City franchise.
As part of this move to the IFL, Duke City is taking a new approach to their franchise and how they appeal to the community, changing everything from their website, new social media angles, etc. This is so they can better reach potential new fans and the broader community for this upcoming season, which is one of their goals.
Some of the franchise names for the Gladiators in the past few seasons will be returning, which include Dello Davis, Jayson Serda, and Sedrick Johnson. Last year in the CIF, Davis received for 934 yards and 22 touchdowns, while Johnson picked up 747 yards and 19 touchdowns. Defensively, Serda greatly led the way in tackles for the Gladiators with 81 total, averaging around nine per game.
Also included in the changes made for this upcoming season is at head coach, as the Gladiators have moved on from Dominic Bramante, and now welcome Cornelius “Pig” Brown to the helm. Brown is an IFL Hall-Of-Fame linebacker who spent the last two seasons as the head coach of the Nebraska Danger, Duke City’s now adversary in the IFL.
“I wouldn’t say that I was hesitant (taking the job), but at the same time, them winning two championships and for them to be looking for a head coach, it did raise my eyebrows,” Brown said. “Everything happens for a reason, all good things come to an end. It’s my turn now, and I’m very thankful that the organization gave me a chance to lead the team to a championship.”
Tickets for this new season will go on sale at the end of the month, with the season itself beginning in March.