Editor’s note: When the Tri-Cities Fever opens its Indoor Football League season at home against the Wyoming Cavalry on Feb. 28, it will mark the franchise’s 10th campaign. Over the next 10 days, the Herald will look at the top 10 moments and top 10 players in franchise history. Today is No. 6:
No. 6 moment
The Tri-Cities Fever was ready to embark on its first season in the Indoor Football League season in 2010 with Pat O’Hara as its coach.
O’Hara helped revive the Fever late in the 2009 season.
But on Dec. 22, 2009, O’Hara resigned to take the head coaching job with the Arena Football League’s Orlando Predators in his hometown.
One day later, Fever owner Teri Carr signed Adam Shackleford to coach the Fever.
Shackleford had led the Spokane Shock to a 19-1 record and the arenafootball2 ArenaCup championship in 2009. But he was fired unexpectedly in September. O’Hara was looking at Shackleford as an assistant for the 2010 season.
“What happened here is kind of crazy,” Shackleford told the Herald. “I am extremely grateful to have an opportunity to coach again.”
Shackleford was 49-8 in three seasons with the Shock, leading them to the playoffs every season and the title game in both 2008 and 2009.
The new Fever coach had just 21⁄2 months to put together a roster, when in normal times he’d have 61⁄2 months.
After a rough 1-5 start, things began clicking for his new team, and the Fever finished with a 7-7 regular-season record before losing in the first round of the playoffs.
Shackleford has been the team’s solid football mind ever since.
His 2011 and 2012 teams made it all the way to the IFL championship (losing to Sioux Falls both times).
Last year’s team missed the playoffs, thanks to injuries. But the Fever did finish the regular season strong, winning five of its final six games.
No. 6 player
Linebacker Ron Childs
Every defense needs a leader.
In 2005 and 2006, that man was Ron Childs — a Kamiakin High School graduate who starred at Washington State University.
After WSU, Childs spent a year with the Kansas City Chiefs, two more seasons with the New Orleans Saints, one season in NFL Europe with the Scottish Claymores, and one season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.
By 2005, he came home to play for this new indoor football team.
As a 33-year-old playing in a young man’s game, Child got through those two seasons with a lot of heart.
“Playing on that turf was so hard on my knees,” he told the Herald back in 2006. “I’d have to turn on my stomach onto my knees just to get up. It’s tough. You feel it.”
Despite that, when it came time to play, Childs was the squad’s emotional leader. He was second on the team with 70 tackles in 2005, a season in which he helped lead the Fever to the National Indoor Football League title.