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Former QB, longtime Arena Football coach replaces Mathew Sauk for Year 2



Longtime Arena Football League coach Mike Hohensee is the new head coach of the Portland Thunder.

Hohensee, 53, replaces Matthew Sauk, who was relieved if his duties on Tuesday.

Sauk coached the Thunder to a 5-13 record in their inaugural season, losing 52-48 to the eventual AFL champion Arizona Rattlers in the first round of the playoffs.

Sauk's sideline deportment played a role in owner Terry Emmert's decision to make a coaching change and bring in a veteran of 24 years of AFL coaching -- 21 as a head man.

Hohensee guided Chicago to the Arena Bowl XX championship in 2006.

"I feel really good about getting Mike," Emmert said Thursday. "He's a coach who coaches and trains his players well. He's a quarterback coach, a guy with a great work ethic. We have a lot of young players, and with his organizational skills, he's the right guy to shape them into a winning team."

A record-setting quarterback at Minnesota in 1981 and '82, Hohensee played in the Canadian Football League, the United States Football League and the Arena League -- throwing the first touchdown pass in AFL history. He was a replacement player for the Chicago Bears during the 1987 NFL strike.

Hohensee was fired in August after a three-year run with Iowa. He took the Barnstormers to seasons of 7-11, 6-12 and 6-12. His career record as an AFL head coach is 153-147.

Emmert said the Thunder will have open tryouts in Portland in November and December. Training camp for the 2015 campaign will be in February.

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Twitter: @kerryeggers

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