CASPER, WY - The Wyoming Cavalry hired Tri-Cities Fever Defensive Coordinator Ryan Lingenfelder last week to be their new head coach replacing Coach Dan Maciejczak. Lingenfelder becomes the sixth Cavalry head coach in franchise history.
Maciejczak, after leading the Cavalry to the playoffs in five of his first six seasons, stumbled to a 4-10 season in 2012. After the difficult season Maciejczak declared his intentions to leave the Cavalry and to take a sabbatical to spend more time with his family , leaving the Head Coach position open.
Lingenfelder, a first time head coach on any level, brings a new era to Cavalry as they move into their third season of IFL play. New eras bring new goals and new aspirations. Lingenfelder knows exactly what he wants to do.
One of his first goals is that he is determined to bring a hard-nosed, physical style of play to the Cavalry.
“The fans can expect, I assure you, is the team will represent hardnosed people with a hardnosed, physical, well conditioned team,” said Lingenfelder. “We want to represent the City of Casper Wyoming with a team out on the field that is a representation of what football should be.”
Argeri Layton, the Cavalry’s Director of Business Operations agrees. “I believe Ryan will do very well in Casper. He is a good fit for our organization. He shares the ownership group’s philosophies and he understands how important the Wyoming Cavalry is to Wyoming.”
Like many coaches Lingenfelder rose up through the ranks in his ascension to Head Coach of the Cavalry. He started as the Offensive Coordinator for Cortez High School in Glendale AZ. He then used that position to springboard into a position as OC for Phoenix Junior College. It was there that Lingenfelder learned about the difficulties coaching can have. “This was where I really learned about the demands placed on a coach and how important is was to manage my time”, he said.
Coach “L” spent 2007 and 2008 as a member of the University of Idaho’s staff. In 2009 he joined the Tri-Cities Fever and in 2010 was elevated to Defensive Coordinator. After helping lead the Fever to the United Bowl for the second consecutive season, Lingenfelder was already in works for the 2013 season. The Cavalry position caught him by surprise though.
“(Cavalry Owner) Mike Layton was given my resume by another IFL GM. I’m not sure exactly how the process went. I wasn’t even aware of the job opening until I got the phone call,” said Lingenfelder.
Lingenfelder is quick to thank his old associates in Tri-Cities for getting him to the opportunity however. “It is because of that experience that I am able to move forward in my career. I owe a great deal to ‘Coach Shack’ and the owners of the Fever for encouraging me to follow my passion.”
As the new head coach of the Cavalry, Lingenfelder will be his own biggest critic.
“I expect a lot out of myself. I want to be true to myself,” said Lingenfelder. “Right now there will be two coaches on staff and I’ll name my assistant at a later date. My relationship with the players will be professional and based on expectations and desire. I have to recruit the best players to come to Wyoming. I always expect the most out of my players and my ownership.”
That attitude may come in handy as in Casper Lingenfelder definitely faces a number of issues from in turning around a team that went 4-10 last season. The Cavalry finished the season losing six of their last seven games and finished the season with the allowing the fourth most points per game in the IFL at 54.4. In addition, the offense ranked fifth worst in the IFL scoring just scoring just 44.2 points per game last season. His difficulties will be compounded in the fact that he admits he is already behind the curve.
“My biggest challenge is recruiting. I am already two months behind Colorado, Nebraska, and the Green Bays. That is my biggest hurdle,” said Lingenfelder.
Still, Coach “L”, who in three seasons helped turn around a Tri-Cities defense that ranked 22nd in 2010 to 6th in 2012, knows it is possible.
“My expectations are very high and I will seek the same performance defensively of course we had in Tri-Cities,” he said.
Just do not expect him to do it quietly.“Just ask any of the Tri-Cities players they will say I can get fired up on the sidelines and on the field of play.”
Just do not ask Coach “L” about a rivalry with Tri-Cities just yet however. “I don’t know yet there are so many challenges to face before we face Tri-Cities. If my presence creates more of a rivalry I think it is great. Rivalries create a great experience for everybody.”
In addition to Tri-Cities, Wyoming must now also keep an eye on a new in-state rival in the Cheyenne Warriors. Headed by Coach Damon Ware, the Warriors will look to test Lingenfelder and the Cavalry for in-state dominance.
If Coach “L” can turn the Cavalry into a “hard-nosed team” and also turn around the Cavalry’s porous defense from a year ago they stand a good chance in rebounding from last year’s disastrous 4-10 season.