Fort Worth Cavalry

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Fort Worth Cavalry
Fort Worth Cavalry AFL logo.gif
Founded 1994
Folded 1994 (only season)
League AFL
Based in Fort Worth, Texas
Arena Tarrant County Convention Center
Colors Cavalry blue & Gold
         
Owner(s) Peter "Woody" Kern
Head coach Michael Trigg
General Manager Michael Trigg
Championships none
Division titles none
Local media HSE (TV)

The Fort Worth Cavalry were an Arena Football League team which operated for a single season, 1994, in the National Conference. The league did not want to abandon the idea of having a franchise in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, a major media market, after the demise of the Dallas Texans (1990–1993), and granted a new franchise to an ownership group in Fort Worth. The team was owned by Peter "Woody" Kern and led by head coach Michael Trigg. The team struggled with ticket sales and financial issues lead to the team being folded after the 1994 season.

History[edit]

In December 1993, the Arena Football League announced that Fort Worth would join the league as one of three expansion teams for 1994.[1] The Fort Worth Cavalry franchise was owned by businessman and minor-league baseball team owner Peter "Woody" Kern.[2] He folded the team after the 1994 season due to attendance and revenue problems then, in 1995, sold the franchise to concert promoter Doug Logan and purchased a majority stake in the rival Tampa Bay Storm.[3][4]

The team struggled to find buyers for season tickets.[5] In addition to ongoing season-ticket sales, the club began selling single-game tickets for the 1994 season on May 2, 1994.[6]

To drum up regional interest in the team and the sport, the Cavalry's first pre-season game was played at the Myriad Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The game was one of four exhibition games played by AFL teams in non-AFL cities in 1994.[7] Halftime festivities included a tribute to longtime Oklahoma Sooners football coach Barry Switzer, then recently named as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.[8]

The Cavalry played their regular season home games at the Tarrant County Convention Center. All but the final home game were played on Monday nights due to other events tying up more lucrative weekend dates.[4] They ended the season with the lowest home attendance of any AFL team in 1994. On the field, however, they were somewhat successful, advancing to the playoffs after finishing one game under .500 in the regular season. They lost to the Orlando Predators in the first round of the playoffs and were disbanded shortly thereafter.[9]

Off-field moves[edit]

Fort Worth hired Arena Football League veteran Michael Trigg as its head coach. Trigg played college football at East Texas State University and as a quarterback led the Detroit Drive to the 1989 and 1990 Arena Bowl championships. After Trigg retired as a player, he spent two seasons as an assistant coach at ETSU and three seasons as offensive coordinator for the AFL's Dallas Texans.[10] After the financial collapse of the Cavalry after the 1994 season, Trigg moved on to become the head coach of the Milwaukee Mustangs in 1995.[11]

In his role as the team's general manager, Trigg hired NFL veteran Tate Randle as defensive coordinator, Marshall Foreman as special-teams coach, and Terry Gray as coach of the offensive and defensive lines as well as director of player personnel.[12]

Controversy erupted when fans found out that one of the team's largest advertisers was Club Legends, a "totally nude" female strip club in neighboring Arlington, Texas.[13][14] The strip club's promotional efforts included having its female employees wearing Club Legends t-shirts around the arena and a sideline advertisement urging Cavalry fans to "Call 1-800-NUDE BAR".[14][15]

Roster moves[edit]

On December 13, 1993, the Cavalry, Las Vegas Sting, and Milwaukee Mustangs participated in the 1994 AFL Expansion Draft. Fort Worth acquired 16 players, one in each round, including 9 former Dallas Texans. One of these, then-current Dallas Cowboys player Lincoln Coleman, was chosen in the 16th round to secure his rights should the Cowboys release him.[16]

In late April 1994, Fort Worth signed Steve Berry to play wide receiver and defensive back.[17] Berry was one of 30 prospective players (along with quarterbacks Todd Hammel and Kyle Mackey plus wideout Robert Kirksey) in the Cavalry training camp and pre-season rosters. Before the regular season began, the roster was trimmed to the league maximum of 23 players.[10]

Ultimately, Mackey split the starting job at quarterback with Hammel who had played for the Texans under coach Michael Trigg the previous two seasons.[18] Mackey was injured during a July 1994 game against the Albany Firebirds.[19] After the Cavalry shut down, Hammel followed Trigg to the Milwaukee Mustangs for the 1995 season.[20]

After veteran kicker Ian Howfield departed for the Baltimore Colts of the Canadian Football League just before the regular season started, the Cavalry signed local favorite Trey Weir as a replacement in late May 1994.[21] Cut by the Colts in mid-June, Howfield returned to the Cavalry for the remainder of the season.[22]

Kelly Blackwell, a tight end for the Chicago Bears in 1992 and Dallas Cowboys in 1993, joined the Cavalry in June 1994. Blackwell has strong ties to the Fort Worth area having played high school football at Richland High School and college football for Texas Christian University.[23]

Media[edit]

Todd Davis was the color analyst for the team's gameday radio broadcasts.[24]

Home Sports Entertainment broadcast two of the Cavalry's regular season games: their home opener on May 23rd against the Milwaukee Mustangs and the July 9th road game versus the Albany Firebirds. HSE also aired a weekly news program titled Fort Worth Cavalry Weekly Report each Friday at 6:30pm during the season.[25]

Season-by-season[edit]

Season W L T Finish Playoff results
1994 5 7 0 4th NC Lost Week 1 (Orlando 34-14)
Totals 5 8 0 (including playoffs)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cavalry's horns not deafening". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. December 10, 1993. p. 1. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Cavalry owner puts experience to work Kern promises involvement, entertainment". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. December 9, 1993. p. 8. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  3. ^ Mills, Roger (October 6, 1994). "Storm's new owner sells Texas franchise". The Dallas Morning News. p. 10C. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Mills, Roger (September 15, 1994). "New Storm now building will bear Kern's mark". St. Petersburg Times. p. 7C. Retrieved October 16, 2012. "We had five Monday night games because of other events scheduled at the Center, and it's hard to get people out to the games on a Monday night," Kern said. 
  5. ^ "Fort Worth Cavalry season tickets go on sale; Arena football team getting the word out about its existence". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. February 21, 1994. p. 8. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Sports Briefly". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. April 30, 1994. p. 2. Retrieved October 16, 2012. The Fort Worth Cavalry of the Arena Football League announced that individual game tickets will be on sale beginning Monday. 
  7. ^ Munn, Scott (April 17, 1994). ""50-Yard Indoor War" Give Us a Chance, Says Arena League Director". NewsOK.com. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  8. ^ Munn, Scott (May 7, 1994). "Tampa Bay Storms Past Fort Worth in Great Indoors". NewsOK.com. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  9. ^ Boggie, Tom. "Firebirds realize better play needed to advance". The Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY). p. E1. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Munn, Scott (May 4, 1994). "Arena Team's Coach Predicts Strong Debut Season". NewsOK.com. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  11. ^ Gardner, Charles F. (April 8, 1995). "Tryout camp kicks off search for talent". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Sports Briefly". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. April 12, 1994. p. 2. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Judge's ruling favors allowing Club Legends to serve liquor". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. January 26, 1993. p. 1. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "Insiders". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. May 29, 1994. p. 4. Retrieved October 15, 2012. Some fans were taken aback at the Fort Worth Cavalry's first home game last week when it was discovered that one of the team's biggest advertisers is Club Legends. 
  15. ^ "Spike the stripper promotions". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. June 1, 1994. p. 17. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Nine ex-Texans go to Cavalry in draft". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. December 14, 1993. p. 6. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Transactions". The Madison Courier (Madison, IN). April 22, 1994. p. B2. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Cavalry rich in quarterbacks: Starter Todd Hammel harbors NFL ambitions. Backup Kyle Mackey is just happy to be playing as he winds down his pro career.". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. May 29, 1994. p. 1. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  19. ^ Boggie, Tom (July 10, 1994). "Same old Mackey as former Firebird swaggers on, limps out". The Daily Gazette. p. F2. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  20. ^ Gardner, Charles F. (April 15, 1995). "Team's new quarterback has Arena experience". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Cavalry signs ex-Lamar kicker". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. May 25, 1994. p. 10. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  22. ^ Murray, Ken (June 27, 1994). "Colts Camp Update". The Baltimore Sun. p. 9C. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Blackwell perfect fit for arena". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. June 20, 1994. p. 3. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Living in this fantasy world adds some fun". The Dallas Morning News. March 24, 2002. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Rangers toy with options". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. May 18, 1994. p. 3. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 

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