Portland Thunder

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For the defunct World Football League team known as the "Thunder" in 1975, see Portland Storm.
Portland Thunder
Current season
Established 2013
Play in Moda Center
in Portland, Oregon
Portland Thunder logo
League/conference affiliations

Arena Football League (2014–present)

Team colors

Royal Blue, Red, Silver, Gray, Thunder Blue, Black, White

Owner(s) Terry Emmert
President Vacant
Head coach Andy Olson
Team history
  • Portland Thunder (2014–present)
League championships (0)
Conference championships (0)
Division championships (0)
Playoff appearances (2)
2014, 2015
Home arena(s)

The Portland Thunder are a professional arena football team based in Portland, Oregon. The Thunder are members of the Pacific Division of the National Conference of the Arena Football League (AFL). The Thunder joined the AFL in 2014 as an expansion team along with the Los Angeles Kiss. The Thunder are owned by Terry Emmert. Since their inception, the Thunder have played their home games at the Moda Center.


Expansion (2013)[edit]

On October 2, 2013, a press conference was held at the Moda Center where it was announced that sports investor Terry Emmert had purchased the membership rights to an AFL franchise.[1] Emmert purchased the Milwaukee Mustangs, who had been a defunct franchise since the 2012 season. This essentially gave Emmert the right to an expansion franchise, since none of the team's Milwaukee roots remain.[2] When asked what the biggest challenge to running a new franchise was, team president Jared Rose said, "Getting new fans to buy into something that the market really hasn’t seen before. Any new product launch is difficult, but we’ve got an exciting product that once people see it, they are hooked."[3]

The Thunder's home field at the Moda Center during a game against the San Jose SaberCats in 2014.

On November 8, 2013 the franchise announced that the nicknames, "Thunder", "Enforcers", "Sasquatch", "Growlers" and "Stomp" were the finalist for the team.[4] Six days later, Emmert revealed the team's nickname would be the "Thunder."[5][6] The Thunder nickname has history in Portland dating back to the 1975 Portland Thunder, who played at Civic Stadium as members of the World Football League (WFL).[7] John Canzano, sports columnist for The Oregonian, wrote that a "team source" indicated that team owner Terry Emmert selected the team's nickname himself, despite claiming that fans would have the ultimate say. According to Canzano's source the "Growlers" nickname was the most popular among voters followed by the "Sasquatch".[8]

Inaugural season (2014)[edit]

The Portland Thunder began their training camp and held a media day on February 25, 2014. On March 1, the team held an intra-squad scrimmage for season ticket holders at Tualatin Indoor Soccer in Tualatin, Oregon. Their first game occurred on March 17 against the San Jose SaberCats at the Moda Center.[9]

On February 12, 2014 it was announced that the Thunder had signed former Portland State Vikings wide receiver Justin Monahan, who is a native of West Linn, Oregon.[10] The Thunder have former Oregon Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas on their inaugural roster. When asked about being assigned to Portland, Thomas said, "That was one of the main reasons I came back and accepted this opportunity to come here, just for the fans and I know people are behind me [...] I'm coming in to compete and be the starter and that's what I came out here for."[11]

The Thunder played their first game on St. Patrick's Day, March 17th, as 8,509 people came to the Moda Center to see the team lose 64-34 to the San Jose SaberCats. The team started 0-5 before beating the Jacksonville Sharks 69-62 on the road in week 7. After starting 0-4 at home, the Thunder won their first game in Portland in week 11, beating the San Antonio Talons 55-40. Despite finishing 5-13, including an 0-6 divisional record and an even more ghastly 2-11 conference record, the National Conference was so weak, the Thunder slipped into the playoffs. In the conference semifinals, the Thunder actually led 48-45 with less than a minute left, before a miracle finish caused them to lose to the 2-time reigning champion Arizona Rattlers, 52-48. On September 23, 2014, the Thunder fired head Coach Matthew Sauk. [12] Days later, the team announced the hiring of former Iowa Barnstormers head coach Mike Hohensee.

Second season (2015)[edit]

The team finished with the same results in 2015, finishing 5-13. Originally the team finished behind Las Vegas in the playoff race. However, as the AFL folded Las Vegas after the season, they had amazingly slipped into the playoffs again. They lost to the San Jose SaberCats. On August 24, 2015, head coach Mike Hohensee and his coaching staff mutually agreed to part ways. [13]

On September 11, 2015, the Thunder agreed to terms to hire former Spokane Shock head coach Andy Olson as its third head coach in three years. [14]

Players of note[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Portland Thunder roster


  • Currently vacant

Wide receivers

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs


Injured reserve

Other League Exempt

League suspension

Inactive reserve

  • Currently vacant

Team suspension

Refused to report

  • Currently facant

Recallable reassignment

  • Currently vacant

Rookies in italics
Roster updated August 24, 2015
21 Active, 21 Inactive

More rosters

All-Arena players[edit]

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

Individual awards[edit]

J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Year
Season Player Position
2015 Duane Brooks WR/KR

Front office and coaching staff[edit]

Current staff[edit]

Portland Thunder staff
Front Office
  • Owner - Terry W. Emmert
  • President - Cory Howerton
  • Director of Media Relations and Digital Marketing - Rob Boelke
  • Director of Business Operations - Courtney Gifford
  • Director of Ticket Operations - Drew Peterson
  • Director of Community Relations - LaShawnta Horton
  • Account Executive - David Livingston
  • Account Executive - Brynnan Hyland
  • Assistant Director of Football Operations - Aldon Leisten

Head Coach

Offensive Coaches

  • Offensive Line — Vacant

Defensive Coaches

  • Defensive Coordinator – Vacant
  • Defensive Line — Vacant

Special Teams

  • Special Teams Coordinator – Vacant

Head coach[edit]

On October 8, 2013, Matthew Sauk was named the Thunder's inaugural head coach.[15] Sauk had previously worked for the Utah Blaze, where he served as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator.[15] Following the team's inaugural season, in which Sauk led Portland to a 5–13 record, Sauk was dismissed as head coach and replaced by Mike Hohensee.[16] On August 24, 2015, Hohensee suffered the same exact fate as he and his staff mutually agreed to part ways after he coached the team to an identical 5-13 record and a second trip to the playoffs.[17] On September 11, 2015, Andy Olson was named the team's third head coach in franchise history.[18]

Coaching record[edit]

Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 2015 Arena Football League season.

Name Term Regular Season Playoffs Awards
W L T Win% W L
Matthew Sauk 2014 5 13 0 .278 0 1
Mike Hohensee 2015 5 13 0 .278 0 1
Andy Olson 2016-present 0 0 0 0 0

Season-by-season records[edit]

ArenaBowl Champions Conference Champions Division Champions Playoff Berth
Season League Conference Division Regular season Postseason results
Finish Wins Losses
Portland Thunder
2014 AFL National Pacific 3rd 5 13 Lost Conference Semifinals (Arizona) 48–52
2015 AFL National Pacific 3rd 5 13 Lost Conference Semifinals (San Jose) 28–55
Total 10 26 (includes only regular season)
0 2 (includes only the postseason)
10 28 (includes both regular season and postseason)


On March 11, 2014, the Thunder came to a local television deal with Comcast SportsNet Northwest. Scott Lynn will do play-by-play, Jordan Kent will be color analyst and Megan Berrey will serve as sideline reporter. (CSNNW is not carried on DirecTV or Dish Network.) [19][20] They also announced a radio deal with KXTG Sports Radio 750 AM with Jeremy Scott on the play-by-play and Brian Perkins as color analyst.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Don Walker (October 2, 2013). "Milwaukee Mustangs bound for Portland". www.jsonline.com. Journal Sentinel, Inc. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  2. ^ Nick Daschel (October 2, 2013). "Arena Football League takes another shot at Portland". www.oregonlive.com. Oregon Live LLC. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Football is coming to Portland - An interview with Portland Thunder Team President Jared Rose". OregonSportsNews.com. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Portland's Arena Football League team narrows nickname contest to five finalists". www.oregonlive.com. Oregon Live LLC. November 8, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Portland Announces Thunder as Team Name". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. November 12, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Portland announces Thunder as AFL team name". www.oregonlive.com. Oregon Live LLC. November 12, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  7. ^ Dwight Jaynes (November 12, 2013). "The Portland Thunder? Been there and done that... in 1975". www.csnnw.com. Comcast Sports Management Services, LLC. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  8. ^ Canzano blog: Portland's Arena Football League team fumbles name, John Canzano, The Oregonian website, February 12, 2014
  9. ^ Odem, Joel (31 January 2014). "Portland Thunder to begin training camp Feb. 25". OregonLive.com. Portland, Oregon: The Oregonian. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "Portland Thunder sign former Portland State WR Justin Monahan". OregonLive.com. Portland, Oregon: The Oregonian. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  11. ^ "Q&A with former Oregon Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas". OregonLive.com. Portland, Oregon: The Oregonian. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Portland Thunder Part Ways With Matthew Sauk, Portland Thunder website, September 23, 2014
  13. ^ Thunder & Coach Hohensee Part Ways, Portland Thunder website, August 25, 2015
  14. ^ Thunder Announce Andy Olson as Head Coach, Portland Thunder website, September 11, 2015
  15. ^ a b "Portland Names Matthew Sauk Head Coach". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. October 8, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013. 
  16. ^ Eggers, Kerry (September 30, 2014). "Hohensee takes reins of Portland Thunder". PortlandTribune. Retrieved October 28, 2014. 
  17. ^ Steve Brandon (August 24, 2015). "Thunder drop Mike Hohensee as coach". www.portlandtribune.com. Portland Tribune. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  18. ^ Steve Brandon (September 11, 2015). "Portland Thunder hire Andy Olson as coach". www.portlandtribune.com. Portland Tribune. Retrieved September 14, 2015. 
  19. ^ Thunder, CSNNW Ink Multiyear Partnership, PortlandThunder.com, March 11, 2014
  20. ^ CSN & Portland Thunder ink multi-year TV deal, CSNNW.com, March 11, 2014
  21. ^ Thunder, 750 AM Announce Thunder Radio Crew, PortlandThunder.com, March 12, 2014

External links[edit]