9. Steamwheelers banished from playoffs

Rich Ingold went 34-14 in three seasons as the head coach of the Quad-City Steamwheelers.

Quad-City Times file photo

Rich Ingold, who served as the head coach of the Quad-City Steamwheelers for three seasons in arena football’s developmental league, passed away this week at the age of 53.

Ingold was found dead in his apartment in the Pittsburgh suburb of Beechview by his father, according to former Steamwheelers owner Jim Foster. Roy Ingold told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that his son died of pneumonia.

Visitation and funeral services will be held Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Ingold became the head coach of the Steamwheelers in 2002, after they had gone 37-1 and won the championship of af2 in their first two years of existence. The team ended up firing head coach Frank Haege and was placed on probation because of rules violations and was ineligible for postseason play when Ingold was hired.

“He always lived up to the letter of the law,’’ Foster said. “I told him ‘We have to because we’re under a microscope.’’’

Ingold was born in Pittsburgh and was a star quarterback at Indiana (Pa.) University before becoming involved in arena football, a sport that was invented by Foster. Foster recalled that Ingold was the starting quarterback for the Washington Commandoes in the first year of arena ball in 1987.

“He was the best quarterback in the league that first year and he wasn’t on the best team,’’ Foster said. “He’d run through a wall if you asked him to.’’

Ingold led the Detroit Drive to the arena football championship in 1988, then got into coaching as the offensive coordinator the Pittsburgh Gladiators the following year.

He went 34-14 in his three seasons as head coach of the Steamwheelers, served as the offensive coordinator of the AFL’s Dallas Desperados in 2005, then found his greatest success as the head coach of the af2 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers from 2006-09. He went 50-14 in those four years and twice led the Pioneers to the ArenaCup championship game.

Ingold, who was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2007, finished with an af2 career record of 92-38 and was one of the original inductees into the af2 Hall of Fame.