Guy Benjamin stepped down as head coach of the Hawaiian Islanders yesterday. He'll be replaced by Chad Carlson, who will give up his duties as general manager.
Carlson replaces Benjamin
as Islanders coach
By Nick Abramo
The Islanders (1-4), a first-year arenafootball2 team, went 1-3 under Benjamin, who missed Saturday's game against Tulsa because of a recurring heart condition.
Carlson stepped into the role of interim head coach prior to Hawaii's 70-42 loss to the Talons.
Benjamin is leaving his post for health reasons, according to Carl Vincenti, the team's director.
Vincenti said Benjamin will continue to support the team and the coaches, and plans to pursue youth and adult football development programs on Oahu.
Benjamin, an All-American quarterback at Stanford, played in the NFL with Miami and New Orleans, and he earned two Super Bowl rings with San Francisco. He was also an assistant for the 49ers under Bill Walsh and was the quarterbacks coach for the University of Hawaii from 1996 to '98. He led the Hawaii Hammerheads to the Indoor Professional Football League championship in 1999.
Benjamin was not available for comment last night.
Carlson, 30, started the season as the wide receivers coach before being promoted to general manager when Jerry Kurz went back to work in the league office in Chicago.
The new Islanders head coach played as a wide receiver for Edmonton and Ottawa in the Canadian Football League and for Portland in the Arena Football League.
"They can call me slash," Carlson said.
"I'm the offensive coordinator, head coach, general manager and next maybe I'll be equipment manager and a fan."
Actually, Carlson won't officially be the general manager because the league doesn't allow one person to do both, but he said he'll still be at the office every day doing whatever he can to help with the organization.
He was once the head coach for the Austrian national team and was an interim high school head coach in Portland.
"I'm very excited for this opportunity," he said.
"I have a passion for the Hawaiian Islanders and I want to add new excitement to a dismal season, add a little fuel to that excitement and bring a victory as soon as possible. These guys are still together, no dissension.
"I have no problem with winning. I want to win. You're not going to see any more of what we've seen in the past."
Hawaii plays division rival San Diego (2-3) this Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Blaisdell Arena with a chance to break a four-game losing streak.
The visitors snapped a two-game losing streak by routing Louisville 68-27 last Saturday.
Moments after Hawaii's loss to Tulsa, the upbeat Carlson had already put the Riptide in his sights.
"You can't get down right now," he said. "If we beat them, we'll be in a tie for second place (in the af2 National Conference Western Division). Everybody is feeling good about next week."
BACK TO TOP