The Chicago Wildfire announced today that Adrian King will return to coach for a second season. King looks to build on the strong culture of commitment and hard work he established in his first year running the program. “Our record last season was less than optimal, and that weighed down on the players emotionally. Realistically, though, we lost a bunch of games by a few points, which is fine when you take an aerial view. This team has a ton of talent, and I expect we’re going to surprise a lot of people in 2018 with just a few tweaks.”
King went on further to say that those changes won’t come easily, but the attitude of the 2017 team and culture of commitment was something he felt would lead to long-term results. “A simplistic definition of success is achieving what you set out to. For us, that’s going to be coalescing around a mutual vision of the daily grind rather than some distant outcome. Our upcoming tryouts and roster selection will heavily favor players who refuse to be complacent with their talents,” King stated. The Wildfire are hosting open tryouts on November 25th, where male and female ultimate players can showcase their talents. Those that fare well will earn an invitation to the closed tryout in December.
When asked about a favorite memory from his first season coaching, King laughed, and said the team spent so much time together there were too many to name. “Some of my favorite memories from 2017 were practices and the time spent between games,” King said. ”A buzzword in sports lately has been ‘process,’ due to [Sam] Hinkie’s methods with the ’76ers. It’s a cliché, but true. If you’re an actor, you have to loveauditioning. If you’re a professional ultimate player, you have to lovepractice and throwing in the cold and wind. You have to find fulfillment in the gym sessions and consider working on tedious 10-yard resets as an enriching experience unto itself. Otherwise, you won’t have enough juice to carry you over the humps during periods of failure.” King was unwilling to take much credit for establishing the mentality for the season, though; “I was fortunate to have two captains, Jack Shey and Pawel Janas, who were conscious of the long-view and really bought in.”
Originally from Idaho, King has a long tenure with successful ultimate programs, starting with his University of Oregon college career with the famed Oregon Ego. King played with Portland Rhino, an elite club team on the west coast, before entering his professional ultimate career as a handler the Portland Stags in 2013. In 2014, King moved to Chicago and began a 2-year stint as a Wildfire player before retiring his cleats and donning the coach responsibilities. His second year as Wildfire head coach is sure to leave a lasting mark on the AUDL.