Tucson’s indoor football team has a new leader in Dixie Wooten, who was named as the organization’s new head coach and general manager for the 2020 season. Wooten was twice-named the Indoor Football League Coach of the Year, and won the 2018 IFL championship.
“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 in a statement.
Wooten had a 36-8 regular season record in three seasons as head coach of the Iowa Barnstormers. His team reached the playoffs all three years, winning the 2018 United Bowl championship. It was the first league championship in Barnstormers franchise history.
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 team’s 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 in a release. “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 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.
According to the Sugar Skulls, the process of developing the 2020 roster will begin immediately. An open tryout will be scheduled in late October or early November.
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.