Cam Gaddis, Matt Behrendt and Zach Allen practically strutted.
As reporters and team executives looked on, the three Tucson Sugar Skulls showed off the team’s new uniforms during Wednesday’s media day at Tucson Arena.
The results on the field are a mystery, but the Sugar Skulls’ colors — black and gold, with a little red and white mixed in — are set. The team will be able to choose between three uniform sets every week.
Gaddis modeled the team’s all-white look. The white helmet looked similar to an actual Sugar Skull. Fitting.
Allen wore the all-black uniforms while Behrendt sported the “Mexican marigold” look, which is all yellow.
Each uniform has yellow, black and white stripes on the shoulders with “Sugar Skulls” across the chest.
“They’re fresh and nice. The ownership did us right and got us looking good, pretty good,” Gaddis said. “I think the white ones are the best, but maybe that’s because I’m wearing it. You can’t go wrong with all white. … For them to pick me to wear one of the uniforms for the first time showing the public, it was definitely an honor. I’m blessed.”
The uniforms — part Iowa Hawkeyes, part Pittsburgh Steelers — are the latest bold step for the Sugar Skulls, who will play their first-ever game Sunday in San Diego. The Indoor Football League expansion franchise will hold its home opener March 10 at Tucson Arena.
The process of birthing a team has been a long one for owners Kevin and Cathy Guy. They first fell in love with Tucson during staycations. Kevin Guy, the longtime coach of the IFL’s Arizona Rattlers, began to think about owning a team.
“We really started to love Tucson and the people of Tucson,” he said. “This only happened because the people of Tucson really wanted to make it happen.”
After conversations with Tucson mayor Jonathan Rothschild and the Tucson Convention Center, the foundation was established and the big-hitters were on board.
The next step: hire qualified people to help run everyday activities in the front office. Check.
After that, find the right coach to build a culture and create a buzz for Tucsonans. That’s where Marcus Coleman, the former defensive coordinator of the IFL champion Iowa Barnstormers, came in. Guy knew Coleman from last year, when they squared off in the regular season . When the two coaches met on the field for the postgame handshake, Guy teased a potential plan.
“The last time (Iowa) played against Arizona, we met after the game and dapped each other up and (Guy) said, ‘You ready to be a head coach?’ I said, ‘Are you giving me the head coaching job?’” Coleman said Wednesday. “That was actually the moment. As we continued to talk and build our relationship and understand the kind of people we are, he and I come from the same cloth.”
Coleman is a football junkie and film nut, just like Guy. In that regard, he was an easy hire.
“I get to watch film and the film never lies. I’ve always looked at coaches and see who’s doing a good job,” Guy said. “I’ve watched Marcus for over a year and felt like we made the right decision when we decided to call Marcus, and I know he’s going to do a good job.”
Of course, wins alone won’t fill Tucson Arena. The Sugar Skulls are already making inroads in the community. The team has appeared at several local establishments over the last two weeks, including the Salvation Army. And the Sugar Skulls are actively looking for ways to interact with Tucsonans.
“Our players, our coaches, our cheerleaders, our front office, everyone will be involved,” Guy said. “We want to give back to our community and that’s very important to us.”
Wednesday’s uniform reveal was one of the next steps in Guy’s quest to make the Sugar Skulls a household name.
“We’re gonna be here for the long haul,” Guy said. “This is not something that’s going to be one year and done. We’re committed to Tucson. We signed a five-year lease and we’re happy to be a part of this community.”