The man who helped reshape the Alaska Wild from a dysfunctional indoor football franchise to a playoff team has resigned as head coach.
Hans Deemer, 39, stepped aside last week after nearly two full seasons with Anchorage's Indoor Football League team. He said he resigned mostly to spend more time with his wife, Michelle and their 10 children.
Their youngest child, Hans Draco, is 5 months old.
"There's a lot of family issues going on," Deemer said.
Deemer's departure sent Wild officials scrambling for a replacement seven weeks before training camp begins, said Jeff Worthington, the team's director of marketing and promotions.
"This was totally out of the blue," Worthington said. "A complete surprise."
The Wild were expecting Deemer to return and help build on a franchise-best 5-10 record they compiled last season, which ended with an early exit in the Intense Football League playoffs.
Deemer's replacement will be the franchise's fifth head coach since the debut in 2007. Training camp kicks off March 4, and the season opener is March 23 against the Fairbanks Grizzlies at Sullivan Arena.
The Wild have not started interviewing candidates to replace Deemer, who finished with a career record of 7-21.
Worthington said possible replacements include Abe Hernandez, defensive coordinator and director of football operations, and Floyd Johnson, who was recently hired as offensive coordinator.
If the options don't pan out, the team will search statewide, Worthington said.
There could also be job-seeking coaches from the Arena Football League, which suspended its 2009 season.
Whatever the case, Worthington said the Wild are optimistic for the upcoming season.
"This is the new era for the Wild," he said.
It'll also be a great change of pace for Deemer, who said he devoted 16 to 20 hours a day to coaching, which included a daily commute from his Valley home into Anchorage.
"I love Anchorage," he said. "The fans were great. But it's time to move on."
Deemer would also like to devote more time to his family's construction equipment company in the Valley. He also wants to help build a new indoor football franchise in Wasilla by 2010.
The team would likely play at the Wasilla Sports Complex, Deemer said. He already has talked to four businessmen from Anchorage and the Mat-Su who are interested in starting a franchise.
"I'm hoping to introduce more indoor football to the Valley," Deemer said.
The 39-year-old was thrown into the Wild's $3,000-a-month job in 2007 with no head coaching experience. He once served as an assistant coach for Colony and Palmer varsity high school football teams.
The Wild first hired Deemer to coach their linemen during a season known more for being dysfunctional than inaugural. His position turned into head coach after the Wild had three coaching changes in the 72 hours following their opening game.
"We didn't have a great first year," Deemer admitted. "But last year was much better and I hope the Wild continue their success."
Find Kevin Klott online at adn.com/contact/kklott or call 257-4335.
By KEVIN KLOTT