Spreadsheets, spread offenses, pre- or post-game food spreads; it’s safe to say that Richard Davis is spread thin as head coach and general manager of the Bismarck Bucks of the Champions Indoor Football League.
And he likes it that way.
“I entered into this business as a coach and defaulted my way into sales and management,” said Davis, who’s been involved in indoor football in one league or another for more than 20 years. “It’s evolved over time. I have experience in both fronts and I have an ownership group that is supportive.”
So not only is Davis busy lining up players for the 2018 Bucks – who open training camp in February in Bismarck – he’s also busy lining up front office staff and game day staff to help the team repeat as the league franchise of the year.
The reason for that success? Davis and his wife, Judy, in the front office. Together they put together a playoff team that found solid footing on and off the field in its first year. Does that make Davis a miracle worker?
“No. Just a coach … and general manger … and equipment manager,” says Davis, in between introductions of new staff, tours of the team’s home at the Bismarck Event Center and phone calls from sponsors, agents, players and fans.
The Bucks are the only team in the 11-team CIFL whose general manager also serves as head coach. All others split those duties, leaving the head coach to focus on football. Davis doesn’t have that luxury yet, but he is barreling full speed ahead. It’s been a year-round dash that should get easier with the addition of several new front-office staffers, meaning Davis can concentrate on football.
“You’d like to think that from 9 to noon, we’ll do this and noon to this we’ll do that, but it doesn’t work that way,” Davis said. “You just put people around you. This really isn’t a coach Davis thing.”
As players begin to arrive, Davis turns his attention from the front office to the locker room.
“This time of year you start to transition and by the time the players get here in mid-February, it’s coach mode,” Davis said.
Training camp opens Feb. 19 and the team has a preseason game open to the public free of charge on Feb. 25 at the Bismarck Event Center. The game will pit Bucks players against one another to determine final roster spots.
The Bucks, who went 5-7 and earned a berth in the playoffs in their first year, open the season March 9 at home against Kansas City. It will be the first of six regular-season home games: March 30 versus Sioux City; April 7 versus Omaha; April 21 versus Salina; May 5 versus Quad Cities; and May 12 versus Omaha.
Davis is getting more excited as the new season nears.
“We’ve improved a lot as an organization over the year,” Davis said. “We built a great foundation last year, but we have things that have to get better, just like every company in the world.”