By: Adam Pasquale Jr.
Pirates Writer
December 28, 2020

WORCESTER, MA. — Next up for the Massachusetts Pirates’ IFL spotlight is the Louisville Xtreme. They join the Frisco Fighters and Northern Arizona Wranglers as the three expansion teams added to the IFL for the 2021 season. The Xtreme were scheduled to play the 2020 season in the AAL. Following the cancelled season due to COVID-19, the Xtreme left the AAL for the NAL. They were not able to strike a deal with the NAL, which led the team to joining the IFL in November 2020.

The football community in Louisville is in for a treat as the Xtreme are working endlessly to build the team’s infrastructure and growing the fanbase. Luckily, a strong fanbase in Louisville already exists thanks to the Louisville Fire, an arena football team that played in the AF2 from 2001-2008. The Fire concluded their football operations with a 62-71 record, but reached the playoffs four different times and made it to the Arena Cup in 2005.

Now, the Xtreme are the only professional football team in Kentucky. Victor Cole, a native of Louisville and the Xtreme’s majority owner, is excited to have professional football back in his hometown.

“It’s a dream come true to be one of the pioneers of a professional sports team in the state of Kentucky,” Cole told masspiratesfootball.com.

The team is led by head coach Mark Stoute. Stoute’s arena football experience dates back to 1995 with coaching stints in various leagues, including the AFL, IFL, and NAL. Stoute coached the Cedar Rapids Titans of the IFL from 2012-2016 and took a four-win team in 2012 to four-straight playoff appearances. In those four seasons, Stoute led his team to a 41-17 overall record. He was named the 2013 IFL Coach of the Year and helped Cedar Rapids achieve the 2014 IFL Franchise of the Year award.

Holliman (center) back in his playing days with the Louisville Cardinals (2012-2014).

Louisville Xtreme owner Victor Cole knows the importance of having an experienced head coach.

“When building a team, you have to start from the top and then go down. With strong leadership, everything else falls into place. The players get behind that and support it.”

In regards to players on the roster, the Xtreme have agreed to terms with wide receiver Edgar Poe for the 2021 season. Poe brings plenty of professional indoor football experience to the Xtreme. He has squared off against the Pirates seven times in the past two seasons and has hauled in 11 receiving touchdowns in that span. Poe will have a chance to up that number next season.

Also, safety Gerod Holliman has been re-signed by the Xtreme. A former NFL draft pick, Holliman played college football at the University of Louisville and is a former teammate of Pirates linebacker Chucky Williams while at the school. In 2014, Holliman tied the NCAA record for interceptions in a season with 14 and was named the winner of the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the nation’s top defensive back.

The Xtreme also made a big splash this offseason in the organization’s front office. Chris Redman, a Louisville native and former NFL quarterback, was hired as the team’s president. He also bought an ownership stake in the team.

Owner Victor Cole is thrilled for the 2021 season and believes the Xtreme have all the pieces in place to make a deep playoff run.

“I am excited about the upcoming season. A lot of good things are put in place. We have a hall of fame coach and quality players. It’s an honor to go up against some of the storied franchises in the IFL.”

Pirates founder and president Jawad Yatim has known Victor Cole for some time and is excited to see Louisville in the IFL with the Pirates.

“From speaking with Victor the last couple of years, I’m excited to see that everything has come full circle for him in Louisville. He’s very passionate about his market and his organization and I’m looking forward to seeing the Xtreme succeed. Having a legend like Chris Redman as a partner as well is invaluable to their organization, his experience and presence in their market should only expedite their growth. They have a very experienced coach as well and they’ll be a competitive team this year, we are certainly looking forward to competing against them on the field and with them off the field as we move into 2021.”

The Pirates will travel to Louisville in Week 4 to battle the Xtreme on April 24th, 2021.

The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA. 01608. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email contact@masspiratesfootball.com or visit http://www.masspiratesfootball.com. Single-game tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For season, half-season, luxury, or group ticket packages please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook via Facebook.com/MAPirates, Instagram @mass.pirates, and Twitter @mass_pirates. #GetHooked #AllAboard