Columbus, GA: Embarking on their remarkable 18th consecutive season, the Columbus Lions are set to shatter expectations with a groundbreaking coaching staff arrangement for the upcoming year.
The forthcoming season not only ushers in an arena football record-holder and widely recognized figure as the Head Coach of the Lions but also marks the introduction of the franchise's inaugural Assistant Head Coach. This strategic maneuver undoubtedly positions the Lions to forge ahead with another dominant year, as they strive to secure their 5th championship title.
Leading the charge is none other than the Night Hawk himself,
Damian Daniels, who assumes the role of the Columbus Lions' new Head Coach. Hailing from Columbus and an alumnus of Shaw High School, Daniels boasts an illustrious journey through the realm of football. After his college stint at West Georgia, he returned home to play for the Chattahoochee Valley Vipers in 2006, even before the inception of the Lions franchise. Damian's exceptional indoor football career saw him don the Lions' jersey from 2007 to 2011, then briefly with the Albany Panthers for two seasons, before a triumphant return in 2014 until his retirement in 2016. Boasting a remarkable record, Coach Daniels secured 5 Defensive Player of the Year awards (2007, 2009-2012) and clinched 4 league championships (2010, 2012, 2015, 2016). Notably, he stands as the all-time leader in arena football interceptions, with an impressive tally of 117 interceptions.
However, Coach Daniels' expertise isn't confined to the playing field. With a rich coaching background at various high schools across the Chattahoochee Valley – including Brookstone, Central Talbotton, Hardaway, Spencer, and Carver – he has also made his mark at the professional indoor level, serving as a player/coach for the Lions (2012-2016), the High Country Grizzlies (2017), and a triumphant return to the Lions in 2022.
The announcement of Coach Daniel’s taking the role of Head Coach is, coincidently, his birthday. So in addition to welcoming him back to the organization in this new role we would like to extend a heartfelt Happy Birthday to Damian.
Reflecting on the hire, Richard Maslia, the majority owner of the Lions, shared, "In the brief time I've had the pleasure of knowing Damian, his humility and leadership have left a lasting impression, and his exceptional arena football career speaks volumes."
Complementing Coach Daniels' expertise is another local talent and Shaw High School graduate, Bruce Figgins, who assumes the role of the Lions' inaugural Assistant Head Coach. Figgins, renowned for his prowess as a Tight End at the University of Georgia, transitioned to the National Football League as an undrafted free agent, representing the Baltimore Ravens and later the New Orleans Voodoo in the indoor game. Following his playing career, Bruce carved a successful coaching path across numerous high schools. Presently, he holds the position of Middle School Head Coach and High School Assistant Coach at St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School. Notably, Figgins contributed to the Lions' coaching staff during their triumphant 2023 championship season under the guidance of Head Coach Chris McKinney.
Lions President Kacee Smith emphasized, "Coach Figgins will provide an additional layer of insight and game knowledge that we believe will perfectly align with Coach Daniels' vision for the team. Securing both of their talents for the future underscores our commitment to the Lions' continued success."
Speaking to the character and leadership of these two exceptional men at the helm, General Manager Lee Snow added, "Both these individuals have seamlessly transitioned from remarkable football careers to becoming outstanding coaches, a feat that's truly commendable. We take pride in welcoming Coach Daniels and Coach Figgins back to the Lions family in their new roles, and we eagerly anticipate the dynamic contributions they'll bring to Columbus this season."
With Head Coach Daniels and Assistant Head Coach Figgins poised to make an immediate impact, preparations are already underway for the first tryout scheduled for September 23rd
. An exciting season lies ahead for the Columbus Lions as they embark on this historic journey under the tutelage of their exceptional coaching duo.