Cleveland Thunderbolts

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Cleveland Thunderbolts
Cleveland Thunderbolts
Founded 1991
Folded 1994
League Arena Football League
Conference American
Team history Columbus Thunderbolts (1991)
Based in Columbus, Ohio (1991)
Cleveland, Ohio (1992-1994)
Arena Ohio Expo Center Coliseum (1991)
Richfield Coliseum (1992-1994)
Colors Purple, White
Owner(s) John Kuczek
Head coach Earle Bruce
General Manager Jeff Kuczek
Playoff berths 1 (1992)

The Cleveland Thunderbolts were an Arena football team based in Richfield, Ohio. The Thunderbolts were founded in 1991 and were a member of the Arena Football League (AFL), as the Columbus Thunderbolts and were based in Columbus, Ohio. In 1992, the franchise relocated to the Cleveland suburb of Richfield. The team played for 4 seasons making the playoffs just one time. They played their home games in the Richfield Coliseum. The team was owned by John Kuczek.[1]


Columbus Thunderbolts[edit]

Established as the Columbus Thunderbolts and playing its home games at the Ohio Expo Center Coliseum, the team relocated to Cleveland after a winless single season in the Arena Football League in 1991.

Perhaps the highlight of the team's one year in Columbus was the play of quarterback Major Harris, who rushed for 429 yards during that season, an achievement given the predominance of passing in the play of the AFL. His record was broken however in 2005 when Michael Bishop ran for 459 yards.

Cleveland Thunderbolts[edit]

They operated in the Cleveland area for three subsequent seasons, playing their home games in the suburban Richfield Coliseum, a considerable distance from downtown Cleveland, sharing it with the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association and the Cleveland Crunch of the National Professional Soccer League. The team did somewhat better than it had in Columbus and qualified for the playoffs in the 1992 season, but was disbanded after the 1994 campaign.

For 13 years, the city of Cleveland, Ohio was without an arena football team. For 2008, the Las Vegas Gladiators franchise moved to Cleveland and became the city's newest team.


Notable players[edit]

All-Arena players[edit]

The following Thunderbolts players have been named to All-Arena Teams:

Notable Coaches[edit]

Head Coaches[edit]

Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 1994 Arena Football League season.

Name Term Regular Season Playoffs Awards
W L T Win% W L
Dave Whinham 1991-1993 6 26 0 .188 0 1
Earle Bruce 1994 2 10 0 .167 0 0



  1. ^ "John Kuczek, insurance man, arena football owner". Pittsburgh Power-Gazette. February 6, 1995. Retrieved March 4, 2014. 

External links[edit]