TAMPA BAY – TBSE Football, LLC, a subsidiary of the Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, LCC, named Derrick Brooks President of the Tampa Bay Storm, Chairman Jeff Vinik announced today. Brooks is joined in the Storm front office by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammate Jeff Gooch, who was named Vice President of Football Operations for the Arena Football League team. As President, Brooks will direct all aspects of the Storm’s business and football operations. Head Coach Dave Ewart and assistants John Kaleo, Donnie Abraham and Nyle Wiren will remain with the team.
“We are very pleased to welcome Derrick and Jeff to the TBSE family,” said Vinik upon making the announcement today. “When we purchased the Storm, we made the same commitment to our fans that we did in purchasing the Tampa Bay Lightning. Our goals focus on winning football games while serving our fans and the Tampa Bay community in a world class manner. Derrick and Jeff, who are both well respected in the NFL and Tampa Bay communities, will lead our efforts on and off the field; they are a perfect fit for us.”
Brooks, who turns 38 next week, retired from the National Football League on August 11, 2010 after 14 seasons with the Buccaneers. He was drafted out of Florida State University with the 28th selection in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft. He never missed a game in his career, starting 221 of 224 games played. He was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2002, the year he led the Bucs to a Super Bowl Championship. Brooks played in 11 NFL Pro Bowls, including 10 straight and he is the team’s all-time leading tackler with 2,198 for his career.
Brooks graduated from Florida State in 1995 with a degree in Business Communications and he returned to earn a Masters Degree in 1999. He was a four-time letterwinner for the Seminoles and earned All-America honors in his junior and senior seasons. Brooks currently sits on Florida State’s Board of Trustees, the 13-member governing board for the University. Recognized for his community service, he co-founded the Brooks-Debartolo Collegiate High School, a charter school in Hillsborough County and was named co-recipient of the NFL’s prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2000.
“I look forward to the opportunity of working with Jeff Vinik and Tod Leiweke as we begin to shape the future of the Tampa Bay Storm,” said Brooks upon accepting the new position. “Football is clearly a passion, and although I am not playing anymore, I look forward to leading from the front office. This is a great challenge and I’d like to thank Jeff Gooch for joining with me as Vice President of Football Operations. He will do a terrific job for us.”
Gooch, 36, joined the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent from Austin Peay University in 1996. He competed alongside Brooks for seven of his 10 NFL seasons, also playing for the Detroit Lions in 2002 and 2003. He retired from the game in 2005 after playing 137 games with the Lions and the Buccaneers. He recorded 234 tackles in his career, excelling on special teams while playing at least 13 games in each of his nine NFL seasons.
The Tampa Bay Storm is currently 1-3 in its 24th season in the Arena Football League. Recognized as one of the premier organizations in the history of the AFL, the Storm has won five ArenaBowl Championships and led the league in attendance each of the past two seasons and seven times overall in franchise history. The team plays next in Philadelphia on Friday, April 15 against the Soul in a game to be televised live nationally on the NFL Network at 8:00 PM EST.