Wheeling Wildcats

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Wheeling Wildcats
Wheelingwildcatslogo.png
Founded 2008
League Continental Indoor Football League
Team history Wheeling Wildcats
2008-2009
Arena WesBanco Arena
Based in Wheeling, West Virginia
Colors Orange, Purple, White
              
President Dave Bender
Head coach Shawn Liotta
Championships 0
Division titles 0
Dancers Kittens

The Wheeling Wildcats were a professional indoor football team located in Wheeling, West Virginia. The team began play in the Continental Indoor Football League during the 2009 season as an expansion team. The Wildcats are the second indoor football team to be based in Wheeling. The team filled the void left by the demise of the Ohio Valley Greyhounds, who played their final down of football in 2007. The Owner of the Wildcats was Dave Bender. The Wildcats played their home games at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Franchise history[edit]

In March 2008, it was announced that indoor football would be returning to Wheeling, West Virginia.[1] Owner Dave Bender was debating on putting the team in Elmira, New York, but when he saw the opportunity to Wheeling, he couldn't pass it up.[1] Bender also cited that the location of teams in the league were a large part of why the Wildcats joined the CIFL.[2] The team tried to establish rivalries, challenging the Rochester Raiders to play the Wildcats in the Raiders' first home game.[2] However, the Raiders have since left the CIFL for the newly established Indoor Football League, leaving the challenged unanswerable. In August, the team announced the signing of head coach Shawn Liotta, who had been coaching the Erie RiverRats of the American Indoor Football Association.[3][4] In December 2008, the Wildcats announced the signing of former University of Pittsburgh standout quarterback, Rod Rutherford.[5] The team also signed former NFL and Arena Football League player, Robb Butler to play receiver.[6] With both Rutherford and Butler player together for Liotta in Erie the year before, the team's offense had high expectations.[7][8] The Wildcats, as well as the rest of the CIFL, had an opportunity to get a higher caliber player in 2009, as the Arena Football League suspending its 2010 season. The reason that many of the AFL players did not make it onto the Wildcats roster was largely due to the players wanting more money than the CIFL would allow.[9]

The Wildcats inaugural season began with a 55−47 road loss to the Marion Mayhem. Two weeks later, the Wildcats played their first home game against the Fort Wayne Freedom. The Freedom offense put on a good display, scoring on every drive except one, in route to defeating the Wildcats 49-34.[10] The following week the Chicago Slaughter came to WesBanco Arena. The undefeated Slaughter had signed several of the Chicago Rush's players who were looking for a place to play with the AFL suspension. The Slaughter defeated the Wildcats 67-59.[11] Four weeks into their season, the Wildcats were 0-4, and faced the also winless Miami Valley Silverbacks. The Wildcats were able to workout their first win against the traveling Silverbacks. The Wildcats would defeat the Silverbacks again three weeks later to make their record 2-6. The Wildcats lost their remaining 4 games of the season to Marion, Rock River,[12] Fort Wayne[13] and Wisconsin. Despite having a good roster, including several NFL, AFL and division one college players, and David Dinkins (who had previously played for AIFA teams in Erie, Pennsylvania, and won the 2005 AIFA MVP),[14] the Wildcats went 2-10 and folded after one season. Liotta, Rutherford and Dinkins returned to Erie in 2010.[15]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Kickoff Opponent Results Game site
Final score Team record
1 Bye
2 March 13 7:30 P.M. EDT at Marion Mayhem L 47-55 0-1 Veterans Memorial Coliseum
3 Bye
4 March 28 7:30 P.M. EDT Fort Wayne Freedom L 34-49 0-2 WesBanco Arena
5 April 4 7:30 P.M. EDT Chicago Slaughter L 59-67 0-3 WesBanco Arena
6 April 11 7:30 P.M. EDT at Milwaukee Bonecrushers L 32-34 0-4 U.S. Cellular Arena
7 April 19 7:30 P.M. EDT Miami Valley Silverbacks W 52-28 1-4 WesBanco Arena
8 April 25 7:30 P.M. EDT Marion Mayhem L 57-61 1-5 WesBanco Arena
9 May 2 7:30 P.M. EDT at Chicago Slaughter L 38-61 1-6 Sears Centre
10 May 9 7:30 P.M. EDT Miami Valley Silverbacks W 33-13 2-6 WesBanco Arena
11 May 16 7:30 P.M. EDT at Marion Mayhem L 24-54 2-7 Veterans Memorial Coliseum
12 May 23 7:30 P.M. EDT Rock River Raptors L 34-46 2-8 WesBanco Arena
13 May 29 7:30 P.M. EDT at Fort Wayne Freedom L 42-82 2-9 Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
14 June 6 7:30 P.M. EDT Wisconsin Wolfpack L 46-49 2-10 WesBanco Arena

2009 CIFL Standings[edit]

2009 Continental Indoor Football League
Team Overall Division
W L T PCT W L T PCT
East Division
Marion Mayhem-y 9 3 0 .750 8 1 0 .889
Fort Wayne Freedom-x 6 5 0 .545 5 2 0 .294
Wheeling Wildcats 2 10 0 .167 2 5 0 .286
Miami Valley Silverbacks 0 10 0 .000 0 7 0 .000
West Division
Chicago Slaughter-y 12 0 0 1.000 8 0 0 1.000
Wisconsin Wolfpack-x 7 5 0 .583 4 4 0 .500
Rock River Raptors 7 5 0 .583 3 5 0 .167
Milwaukee Bonecrushers 3 8 0 .273 1 7 0 .167

Logos and Uniforms[edit]

After deciding against using the Greyhounds name, and when "Ironmen" nickname (a nod to the city's former Continental Football League team) was unavailable,[1] a naming contest was announced. Out of 175 entries, the name Wildcats was chosen.[2]

Notable players[edit]

Roster[edit]

Wheeling Wildcats roster
Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Linebackers

Defensive Backs

Kickers

Injured Reserve
  • Currently vacant

Exempt List

  • Currently vacant

Practice Squad

  • Currently vacant

Rookies in italics
updated June 5, 2012
12 Active, 0 Inactive, 0 PS

More rosters

Coaches of note[edit]

Head Coaches[edit]

Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 2009 Continental Indoor Football League season.

Name Term Regular Season Playoffs Awards
W L T Win% W L
Shawn Liotta 2009 2 10 0 .167 0 0

Statistics and records[edit]

Season-by-season results[edit]

Note: The Finish, Wins, Losses, and Ties columns list regular season results and exclude any postseason play.

League Champions Conference Champions Division Champions Wild Card Berth League Leader
Season Team League Conference Division Regular season Postseason Results
Finish Wins Losses Ties
2009 2009 CIFL East 3rd 2 10 0
Totals 2 10 0 All-time regular season record (2009)
0 0 - All-time postseason record (2009)
2 10 0 All-time regular season and postseason record (2009)

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Mike Hughes (March 15, 2008). "Indoor Football Returning to Wheeling". The Intelligencer & Wheeling News-Register. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Mike Hughes (May 11, 2008). "New Team to be Called Wildcats". The Intelligencer & Wheeling News-Register. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ Mike Hughes (August 6, 2008). "The Big Cat". The Intelligencer & Wheeling News-Register. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Liotta resigns as 'Rats' coach". www.goerie.com. Go Erie. August 6, 2008. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Wheeling Wildcats Sign QB Rod Rutherford for 2009 Season". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. December 12, 2008. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Wheeling Wildcats Sign Former NFL DB/WR Robb Butler for 2009". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. December 21, 2008. 
  7. ^ Mike Hughes (December 23, 2008). "Wildcats Add Butler to Roster". The Intelligencer & Wheeling News-Register. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  8. ^ Mike Hughes (January 10, 2009). "Wildcats Add To Roster". The Intelligencer & Wheeling News-Register. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  9. ^ Mike Hughes (December 24, 2008). "AFL Won't Be Part Of Wildcats". The Intelligencer & Wheeling News-Register. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  10. ^ Tracy Watson (March 29, 2009). "Freedom score win in season's 1st road game". Journal Gazette. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Wildcats Fall to Chicago". The Intelligencer & Wheeling News-Register. April 5, 2009. Retrieved May 30, 2009. 
  12. ^ Jay Taft (May 23, 2009). "N:\Juno - Product Realization - Metals\0-RFQ\INVUITY". Rockford Register Star. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  13. ^ Stacy Clardie (May 30, 2009). "Defense steals show in Freedom’s blowout of Wheeling". Journal Gazette. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Wheeling Wildcats Sign David Dinkins for 2009 Season". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. January 3, 2009. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Erie Storm Announces Return Of QB Rutherford". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. January 28, 2010. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 

External links[edit]