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AFL Features: Pat Pimmel, Philadelphia Soul Head Coach

Updated at Mar 27, 2024

New Head Coach Pat Pimmel brings a wealth of knowledge to this Soul team. An extensive resume in a variety of indoor and arena leagues, Pimmel knows how to get the job done.

One of the Arena Football League's most notable franchises is returning for the 2024 AFL season. A team rooting for success, the Philadelphia Soul have appeared in six Arena Bowls in 15 years. As the franchise aims to provide fans with yet another winning season, they have hired one of the most recognizable coaches in the arena game.

New Head Coach Pat Pimmel brings a wealth of knowledge to this Soul team. An extensive resume in a variety of indoor and arena leagues, Pimmel knows how to get the job done. In a recent interview, Pimmel peeled back the curtain on a multitude of topics including his early coaching years, previous stops in professional football, constructing a winning roster, as well as his philosophies in building a culture within an organization.

Roster Construction and Personnel Philosophy

Heading into the 2024 AFL season, the Soul have been busy constructing a roster loaded with talent. Key players include Quarterback Alphonso Howard and Wide Receivers/ Defensive Backs, such as Clifton Duck, Lamont Wade, and Todd Simmons Jr., who are other valuable assets of the Soul and are looking to make an impact for Philadelphia this year. Pimmel has plenty of recruiting experience during his many years coaching in various professional football leagues:

“Everywhere I [have] Head Coached, I’ve been the director of player personnel, so that is not new.”

Pimmel is well known for his recruiting abilities, and Philadelphia has been graced with his talents ahead of the season opener. High-caliber players like the ones mentioned above are fantastic signings for the Soul thus far:

“Constructing the roster is one of my favorite parts of the job. Just to evaluate the talented players is something I really enjoy.”

With a full roster of players locked and loaded for training camp, Pimmel expanded on his comments about roster construction and the current Soul team. With many players having experience in Power Five conferences and other avenues of professional football, Pimmel is excited to get the chance to work with these athletes:

“My thoughts on our current roster is that we are young and talented. What fans might not know is we have at least 10 players who have been in the NFL, CFL, XFL.”

In the world of professional sports, injuries and unforeseen bumps in the road will happen. As the Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel, Coach Pimmel will be faced with some difficult choices in training camp, practice, and even during the regular season. Having that “Next Man Up” mentality for his players will be crucial.”

“Next Man Up” has to be the attitude. These players can get moved up to the next level at any time, and the AFL encourages that. Also, with a 24-man roster, injuries or illness can happen, and you have to be prepared.”

Collectively, the Soul roster is one of the most talented across the league on paper. Coach Pimmel and the rest of the Philadelphia coaching staff have assembled an excellent group of athletes heading into the 2024 season.

Putting Together a Winning Program

At the end of the day, results matter in the AFL. Putting your team in a position for success is critical to securing long-term stability in the coaching ranks. Coach Pimmel has seen both sides of the coin and is excited to build a winning program here in Philadelphia with the Soul:

“I’m going to build a winning culture by finding the players who are unselfish and care more about the team's success over their individual accolades. At the same time, they must be willing to invest in the community of Philadelphia.”

Another key to success is building an elite coaching staff. Pimmel has hired the likes of Ryan Vena as Offensive Coordinator, Jermaine Hampton as Defensive Coordinator, and Jaa Valentine to help coach this team. Vena, Hampton, and Valentine bring a wealth of knowledge along with Pimmel to anchor this Soul team:

“The biggest thing I look for in assistants is that they have to be smarter than me. When I build a coaching staff, I look for coaches I connect with and also who [I] can personally learn from. I found that this season in my coordinators, Jermaine Hampton, Ryan Vena, and Jaa Valentine.”

Pimmel will take the head coaching reins for the Philadelphia Soul for the upcoming 2024 AFL season. With a rich history, Pimmel and the rest of the coaching staff have a tall task this year. Building a roster that can compete with 15 other AFL squads will not be an easy job. It will take a total team effort from top to bottom to consistently produce positive results. Though tough roster cuts loom, Coach Pimmel will look for the 24 best players to hit the field for the upcoming season. Entering his 17th season coaching professional football, Pimmel seems more excited than ever for the season to start.

Coaching Resume

Pimmel’s coaching career spans 30-plus years. A St. Louis, Missouri native, Pimmel has coached youth, high school, indoor, and arena league football during that span. Pimmel began his professional football coaching career back in 2008. As most coaches do, Pimmel started his coaching career in youth football long before then. The foundation skills needed to teach players the basics of technique and discipline came naturally to Pimmel:

“I started [coaching] youth football in 1995 in St. Charles for 6 years, and went to the City of St. Louis, and was named the first white Head Coach for the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club. In my 6 years there, I was fortunate to win 6 consecutive state championships and 2 national tournaments.”

After spending ten-plus years in the youth and high school football ranks collectively, an opportunity to make the jump to professional football presented itself. The Missouri Wildcats of the now-defunct North American Football League would make Pimmel their Offensive Coordinator. Next, Pimmel would join the Indoor Football League when it formed back in 2009 with the RiverCity Rage. The Rage went 8-6 in the regular season in 2009. Pimmel and company willed the team to the United Bowl, where they lost 71-63 to the Billings Outlaws.

“I started coaching professionally in 2008. In 2009, the IFL was formed. In 2009, after St. Louis was shut down, I went to Omaha, then in the IFL, and led them to the playoffs…”

Continuing his coaching career, the early years in the IFL saw Pimmel make a major play for an NFL Hall of Famer. That team, the Allen Wranglers, sent shockwaves through the league and have left fans with a lasting impression of Pimmel’s recruiting prowess:

“[The] Most notable [signing] is that we were able to sign Hall of Fame WR Terrell Owens…”

Here is where you can start to see the foundation being built regarding Pimmel’s extensive history as a recruiter. But, more on that later. Next, Pimmel left the IFL for an exciting brand of football known as the Arena Football League:

“In 2013, I was hired in Orlando, for the Orlando Predators midway through that season, under Doug Plank. [In] The AFL, I just remember the players being so talented and how much faster the game was compared to the IFL.”

Following the 2013 season, Pimmel took a hiatus from coaching professionally. During the time off, Pimmel never lost the fire that burned inside him when it came to coaching. In 2022, Pimmel made his return to the sidelines. The Las Vegas Knight Hawks, a newly founded IFL team back in 2022, would be coached by longtime indoor coach Mike Davis. Davis enlisted Pimmel, with whom they have a long-standing relationship, as its Offensive Coordinator in their inaugural season:

“I took time off [from] professional football until 2022. I was hired by the Las Vegas Knight Hawks in the IFL and was named offensive coordinator. [In] 2023, I was the run game coordinator for the Las Vegas Knight Hawks.”

Throughout Pimmel’s years coaching in the pros, he would need to adjust and adapt to various football leagues. As we fast forward to the present day, Pimmel is putting together a game plan essentially from scratch. Taking his many years of coaching expertise along with him to Philadelphia, Pimmel had this to say about his current coaching role:

“My thoughts on [being] named the Head Coach of the Soul, and still hold today is, honored!!”

The Soul are tentatively set to open training camp on April 8th, with final rosters being revealed about three weeks after that. Best of luck to Coach Pimmel and the rest of the Soul in their hunt for a championship this season!

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