Dixie Wooten, a two-time Indoor Football League Coach of the Year and winner of the 2018 IFL championship, has been named head coach and general manager of the Tucson Sugar Skulls for the 2020 season.
“Dixie is a proven championship coach and we are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to bring him to Tucson,” said Sugar Skulls Owner Cathy Guy.
Wooten had a 36-8 regular season record in three seasons as head coach of the Iowa Barnstormers. His teams reached the playoffs all three years, winning the 2018 United Bowl championship. It was the first league championship in Barnstormers franchise history. Wooten was named IFL Coach of the Year in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Wooten said he’d a big part of the community while the head coach.
He added his team will be “a tough-nosed team.”
The Barnstormers finished the 2019 regular season in second place in the IFL with a 12-2 record but were defeated by the eventual league champion Sioux Falls Storm in the semifinals of the IFL playoffs. Iowa defeated the Sugar Skulls, 61-58, on a last-minute touchdown in the teams’ only meeting last season at the Tucson Arena. The Barnstormers had the league’s MVP, quarterback Daquan Neal, and put three players on the IFL first team and three on the second team.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to be the new head coach and general manager of the Tucson Sugar Skulls,” Wooten said. “After only one year, this is one of the premier organizations in the IFL with what we have in place in ownership, the front office and the football operation. We will compete for a championship this year.”
The Sugar Skulls finished the 2019 regular season with a 7-7 record and were the first expansion franchise to make the playoffs in IFL history. Tucson clinched the playoff berth with a thrilling 55-50 victory over the Quad City Steamwheelers in the last game of the regular season at Tucson Arena. The Sugar Skulls lost to Sioux Falls, 50-47, in the first round of the playoffs.
“While we were all ecstatic to make the playoffs in our first year, our goal every year is to win a championship,” Guy said. “Dixie’s experience as a head coach and his history as a winner give us a chance to compete for a championship right now. We’re excited to get started on the 2020 season.”
The process of developing the 2020 roster will begin immediately. An open tryout will be scheduled in late October or early November.
“The players that will be part of this team will understand it’s all about our community and working together as a team to achieve one goal – winning a championship,” Wooten said. “The work begins today.”
Wooten replaces Marcus Coleman who was the head coach for the Sugar Skulls’ inaugural season.
The 2020 IFL schedule is expected to be released in early October. The Sugar Skulls will play seven regular-season home games at the Tucson Arena beginning in March with the regular season running through June. The IFL playoffs will begin in early July.
Season tickets for the 2020 season are currently on sale to the general public with reduced prices from the 2019 season in several sections of the arena. Season ticket information is on the Sugar Skulls website at www.tucsonsugarskulls.com. Information also is available by calling the team office at (520) 573-3000. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Listen to Steve Rivera on his daily weekday show “Eye on the Ball” on KVOI 1030 The Voice from 6-7 p.m. Call in to 520-790-2040 or stream live on KVOI.com.