NEW YORK - Doug Plank led the Georgia Force to the top seed in the Arena Football League playoffs, earning him Coach of the Year honors Thursday.
Plank, in his first AFL season as a head coach, was chosen in voting among the coaches in the league. He leads the Force against the Orlando Predators on Saturday, with the winner advancing to the ArenaBowl.
Plank, 52, was hired last July 30 after spending three seasons as the Arizona Rattlers’ defensive coordinator. The Rattlers made the ArenaBowl in all three of those years.
He guided the Force from a 7-9 record in 2004 to 11-5 mark and a Southern Division crown this season. Georgia beat Tampa Bay 62-46 in the opening round of the playoffs.
As a safety at Ohio State, Plank played in three consecutive Rose Bowls (1973-1975). He was drafted by the Bears in 1975 and played on Chicago’s great 1985 defense that helped it to the NFL title.
Indeed, the 46 Defense created by Bears coordinator Buddy Ryan was named for Plank’s number and his aggressive style of play.
Also receiving votes for AFL Coach of the Year were Colorado’s Mike Dailey, Los Angeles’ Ed Hodgkiss, Nashville’s Pat Sperduto and New York’s Weylan Harding.