Southern Vermont Storm: Coon, Stratton join staff

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BENNINGTON — The Southern Vermont Storm have had a whirlwind few months, to say the least.

After winning the New England Football League Maritime Conference Championship, former head coach Guy Changa and former general manager Justin Morris decided to leave the Storm in order to create a new NEFL team in Brunswick, N.Y.

When those two left the program, Storm executives had to move quickly to figure out the next steps for the franchise and many have wondered over the last month and a half, how it would end up.

Saturday night provided many answers to the question of how the Storm will move forward as the franchise announced its new head coach and new director of player personnel at JC's Tavern in Bennington.

Kevin Coon, a former player, was named the next head coach of the team, replacing Changa.

Storm general manager Chris Cipperley knew they hired the right guy to help continue the success the team found last season.

"I've really been thinking about what this team means to me and Kevin feels the same way about this team," Cipperley said. "He had a drive that a lot of people don't have. He's a winner on the field and has a tremendous competitive drive."

Being a former player for the Storm, Coon knows what this team means to him and the community and is grateful to be given the opportunity to lead the team.

"For me personally, all of these guys here are like my brothers," said Coon looking out at the group of Storm players in attendance. "Some of these guys I've played with since day one and some I've only played with since last year, but they're all family to me. I love football and I love the Storm. I'm grateful for the opportunity I've been given to be the coach."

Coon wasn't the only one being introduced in his new role Saturday night, as the Storm also introduced Tighe Stratton as the director of player personnel.

Stratton has a long history with the Storm, having created the team in late 2005 as an outlet for guys to continue to play football after high school or college.

Stratton was recently inducted into the NEFL's Hall of Fame for his contributions to the Storm and the league. Stratton, a 1996 Mount Anthony graduate, owned the team from 2006-14 before stepping away for personal reasons.

Having been one of the men who brought the team to Bennington over a decade ago, Stratton is excited for the opportunity to rejoin the Storm franchise and can't wait to get out and recruit guys to play.

"I feel like I've got the easy job here. You guys just won the championship, so recruiting is going to be pretty easy," said Stratton scanning the group of Storm players. "People love to play football. It's an easy sell. I'm going to sell them on the love of game. I know I have it, so it's easy to sell."

Especially coming off a championship, Cipperley knew the team had to bring in a strong recruiter to keep up the high standard that was set last season and he feels like Stratton will bring just what the team needs to maintain that.

"He's amazing at recognizing talent. The best thing that he brings to us is that he's an extraordinary recruiter and he's a fighter," said Cipperley of Stratton.



Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.

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