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Arena League, Storm icon Marcum dies

TAMPA — Former Storm coach Tim Marcum, the winningest coach in Arena Football League history, died Thursday after a long illness. He was 69.

Mr. Marcum, a charter member of the Arena League's Hall of Fame, went 156-87 in 15 seasons with the Storm with three Arena­Bowl titles. In 21 seasons in the league, he went 211-99 with seven ArenaBowl titles, the most in league history.

Jim Robinson, the longtime Storm public relations director, said Mr. Marcum died at 3:27 p.m. at a bay area hospice.

"(Mr. Marcum's daughter) Michelle let me know that he passed away peacefully and in his last few hours he was surrounded by his loved ones and family, listening to old Elvis (Presley) tunes," Robinson said. "They were remembering the good times of Tim as a great father, husband and coach."

Mr. Marcum, who was born Feb. 10, 1944, in Snyder, Texas, started at quarterback at McMurry (Abilene, Texas) under college football Hall of Famer Grant Teaff from 1965-66.

He coached Ranger (Brownwood, Texas) to a national junior college title and was an assistant at Rice and Florida (linebackers coach under first-year UF coach Steve Spurrier in 1990). He also coached in the USFL and World League of American Football.

In 1987, the Arena Football League played its first season, and Mr. Marcum coached the Denver Dynamite to the inaugural title. The next season, he took over the Detroit Drive, which he led to three ArenaBowl titles in five seasons. He spent 1994 as a defensive assistant with the NFL's Falcons. Then new Storm owner Woody Kern lured him back to the Arena League.

Mr. Marcum led Tampa Bay to ArenaBowl titles in his first two seasons, 1995 and 1996, and to the playoffs in 13 of 15 seasons. The Storm won another title in 2003 and lost the ArenaBowl in 1998 and 2010.

Mr. Marcum resigned as Storm coach and general manager in 2011. He came under fire for a deposition he gave in a lawsuit between him and former Storm owner Robert Nucci. Mr. Marcum admitted receiving and forwarding emails that included pornography and racially insensitive topics via his work computer.

"His legacy and place in our game will not be forgotten," Storm president Derrick Brooks said in a statement. "He will be missed greatly by everyone involved in the Arena Football League. Not only will I miss him as a coach, but I will also miss him as a friend."

Mr. Marcum returned to the Arena League in 2012 as an assistant for New Orleans and coach Pat O'Hara, who quarterbacked the Storm to the 2003 title.

"I wouldn't be where I am without him," said O'Hara, who was at the hospice when Mr. Marcum died. "He was an amazing guy who would give you the shirt off his back. He's the best ever in this league. I was never out in public with him when someone wouldn't want to come up and shake his hand. And those people would walk away feeling like they had just made a friend. He was amazingly gracious."

Arena Football legend

Before coming to Tampa Bay, Tim Marcum went 44-10 in the regular season and 11-2 in the playoffs with six ArenaBowl berths and four titles for Denver (1987) and Detroit (1988-89 and 1991-93). His Storm tenure:

Yr. Rec. Playoffs

'95 10-2 3-0, won ArenaBowl

'96 12-2 3-0, won ArenaBowl

'97 8-6 1-1, semifinals

'98 12-2 2-1, lost ArenaBowl

'99 11-3 0-1, first round *

'00 8-6 1-1, second round *

'01 10-4 0-1, second round *

'02 6-8 1-1, second round *

'03 12-4 3-0, won ArenaBowl

'04 9-7 0-1, first round *

'05 9-5 0-1, first round *

'06 5-8 Missed playoffs

'07 9-7 0-1, first round

'08 8-8 Missed playoffs

'10 11-5 2-1, lost ArenaBowl

* Lost in quarterfinals

REGULAR SEASON

Storm: 140-77Overall: 184-87

PLAYOFFS

Storm: 16-10Overall: 27-12

TOTAL

Storm: 156-87Overall: 211-99

What they're saying

Brett Dietz, Storm QB from 2007-10:

"I am extremely grateful to him. Coach Marcum gave me a chance when almost no one else would and allowed me to live out my dream of playing professional football. The AFL lost a great man and the grandfather of the league."

Cliff Dukes, Storm DL in 2008 and 2010-11:

"(After my career), I would see him every two or three weeks. We would have lunch and laugh and talk about each other's families. He brought me to Tampa originally, and I gained so much respect for all the things he had done with the league. Then he called me (in 2010) to come back (after playing in the CFL), and I was like, 'Absolutely, I want to ride with you.' "

George LaFrance, Arena League Hall of Famer who won five titles with Marcum in Detroit and Tampa Bay:

"He always prepared us fully. He would never leave any stone unturned. And he made sure we left it all out on the field."

Tom Kaleita, Storm OL from 2007-12:

"There were a couple of times where he invited me and some of the players to Halloween parties and get-togethers, so I really got to know him well away from the game. He was the type of coach who wanted nothing but the best for his players."

Arena League, Storm icon Marcum dies 12/05/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 5, 2013 11:21pm]
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