TAMPA — Tim Marcum resigned as coach of the Storm on Thursday, but that doesn't mean he won't be on the sideline any more.
"I'll live to fight again," Marcum said. "I'm going to bring a team in (to Tampa), and I'm going to kick your butt. That's my attitude. But it's a situation where now, this is what's right to do."
Marcum, the winningest coach in Arena Football League history, announced his resignation at a news conference at the St. Pete Times Forum, ending his 15 seasons as coach and general manager.
Longtime Storm assistant Dave Ewart will take over as coach. The team will conduct a search for a new executive to oversee the franchise.
Marcum, 67, had come under fire for a deposition he gave in a lawsuit between him and Robert Nucci, who previously owned the Storm. Marcum admitted in the deposition receiving and forwarding e-mails that included pornography and racially insensitive topics via his work e-mail account. He said he forwarded the e-mails to other Storm employees.
"I think a lot of distractions have, over the past month, made it kind of impossible for me to go forward," said Marcum, who plans to continue his suit against Nucci. "I hope it's closing a chapter and not the end of the book. I'm very disappointed in what's gone on and what's happened.
"I've spent 44 years treating kids, doing things for kids, regardless of color, creed, and to be labeled (negatively) because whatever it was that someone sent me on e-mail, it's just not right."
Tod Leiweke, chief executive officer of Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Storm and the Lightning, thanked Marcum for his years of service and his "legacy" of winning.
Marcum compiled a 156-87 record with the Storm, winning three ArenaBowl championships (1995, '96, 2003). In his 21 seasons, he won seven ArenaBowl championships in all, four more than any other coach.
Leiweke said there is "absolutely no acrimony" in the split, which he said is mutual. He praised Marcum for showing honor and support in making a "seamless transition."
Leiweke said the team reviewed Marcum's actions, and though he did things that were inappropriate for the workplace, "we also found there were a lot of people, specifically the players that played for this guy, who said their lives were changed (because of him). This is an unfortunate end."
"I do not believe the man is a racist," Leiweke said. "I think he's regretful, and I think the way he handled this event, specifically with us, was pretty doggone honorable. He cared about the team, cared about the players."
"I didn't think this was going to happen," Storm defensive lineman Cliff Dukes said. "But as (the season) started getting closer and closer, and after hearing things people were talking around town, I wasn't sure how it was going to go. To be honest, I'm still in disbelief.
"I've talked to a couple of the players, and we know it's going to take the leaders on this team to step up and come together. We have to let it be known that we are going to nip any of this in the bud and be ready to play. I think we'll make it all work."
Defensive back Erick McIntosh called Marcum "a good coach and a good man.''
"It's very disappointing,'' McIntosh said. "I can't even put it all into words right now. It will probably take its toll at first, but I know (Marcum) would want us to go out there and play and perform like we can."
Times correspondent Brandon Wright contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.