DeVon Walker hasn't been around the Tri-Cities Fever organization for very long, but already he's endured a career's worth of changes.
He has played in just 16 games and, in that span, has agreed to play for three different coaches in three different leagues.
Not a real good selling point for an organization.
New Fever coach Adam Shackleford knows that. That's why one of the first things he stressed when he was hired last month was stability.
He is the ninth coach for the Fever since 2005 and fourth in the past three seasons. Shackleford was hired at the last minute after Pat O'Hara took the head coaching job of the Orlando Predators in the Arena Football One league.
The news came as a surprise to most players but did not change their minds about playing in Tri-Cities this season. Shackleford hopes the players' loyalty will help turn the team's image around.
"There was a little hesitation to re-sign," Walker said. "But after thinking about it, I was in. The owners are still the same, and we have great fans here."
Walker was one of 11 players O'Hara signed before leaving for Orlando. Shackleford said he and his assistant coaches have been in contact with those players and hope to have most of them in the Tri-Cities when training camp starts on Feb. 22.
Since taking over, Shackleford has signed four players, including three more Tuesday to bring the total to 15. He wants to double that number in the next few weeks and ideally would like to have his roster set by Feb. 1. But he knows that might not be possible, given the late start.
"We've got a good, solid group of guys," Shackleford said. "But we have a lot of work still to do.
"We're not ready right now, but we will be."
When it was announced that O'Hara was taking the job in Orlando it was not unexpected.
"That's the job you want," Walker said. "You want to coach in the top league and be close to your family. It's a great opportunity for him."
But playing for Shackleford, who was 49-8 in three seasons with the Spokane Shock, is not a bad alternative.
"You went from one good coach to another good coach," said Ray Little, an all-purpose player for the Fever last season. "My goal is to use this as a stepping stone, and this is a good opportunity for me."
-- The Fever signed WR/DB Johnny Walker, who was on the Fever's roster last season, along with RB Mike Davis and DE Brandon Swain on Tuesday.
-- O'Hara, who has still not officially been announced as the Orlando coach, signed Chris Hemphill to a Predators contract recently. Hemphill, who played in seven games and had five interceptions last season for the Fever, had re-signed with the Fever in December.
-- The Fever is holding its second open tryout for the 2010 season that gets started March 8 in Fairbanks, Alaska. The tryout is set for Jan. 30 at Toyota Center.
-- Former Fever WR/DE Robert Garth was recently hired as an assistant coach of the Green Bay Blizzard. Garth played for the Fever in 2007 and helped the team to the playoffs in its inaugural season in the af2.