Lafayette Lions History
The origin of Semi-Pro Football in the Lafayette area began in January 1972 with the formation of the original Lafayette Generals. The Team was organized by Jack Morrison with the help from sponsor Burger Chef and competed as a part of the Grass Roots Amateur Football League (GRAFL) from 1972 -1982.
Dick Schnaible became the team's first Head Coach in April 1972. Schnaible, a former Boilermaker, Philadelphia Eagle, and Ottawa Rough Rider (CFL), led the Generals to a successful first season. The Generals won the Northern Division title that year with a regular season record of 11-0. Their only loss came in the playoffs to the Indianapolis Raiders, 24-12. The Generals undefeated regular season went down in the record books as the first perfect season in GRAFL history.
The following season the Generals appointed Ron Maltony to Head Coach. Maltony played four years of collegiate football as a Boilermaker where he was named All-Big Ten three times. He also played for the Washington Redskins and the CFL's Ottawa Rough Riders. Maltony maintained the role of Head coach for many years. The Generals, under Maltony's guidance, amassed many successful campaigns to include seasons of 7-5, 8-1, and the team's most successful of 11-1 in 1976. The Generals that year captured the GRAFL league championship by defeating the Indianapolis Bears with a score of 25-12.
In the years that would follow, leading up to 1980, the team enjoyed several more winning seasons. After a regular season of 8-4 the 1980 Generals once again visited the GRAFL playoffs. The Generals lost their playoff game to the Indianapolis Bears and sadly, this game was to be the last game played in Lafayette by the original Generals organization. Later, in the early 80's, the team completely disbanded and ended an era as the original Lafayette Generals.
The city of Lafayette was not to host another semi-pro football team for a decade. Then, 1990 saw the formation of the Pony Express and though ambitious, the team disbanded after only one season of competition.
In January of 1991 Greg Phillips, and a collection of original Generals, resurrected the Generals organization. The team was formed in an attempt to reunite old Generals with new and bring back a winning tradition to Lafayette semi-pro football.
The “new” Generals became a charter member of the Mid-Continental Football League (MCFL). From 1991 to 1993 the team enjoyed moderate success with an overall record of 10 and 17. After the completion of the '93 season General Manager Greg Phillips left the “new” Generals and named Tracey Rosa as his successor.
Under Rosa's guidance the team did not enjoy any success winning only one game over the next three seasons. In 1996 a misappropriation of team funds caused the dismissal of the team from the MCFL. Upon receiving the news of the team's dismissal from the MCFL the '96 team players asked for Rosa's resignation and became a player managed team. After a unanimous decision, Frank Jordan, senior squad member, veteran player for 7 seasons, and Generals Defensive Coach, took on the role of General Manager. This time Mr. Jordan began the additional task of becoming the owner of a non-profit organization called the Lafayette Football Club.
As GM, Frank Jordan's first order of business was to secure a spot for the team in the Mid-Eastern Football League (MEFL). As a member of the MEFL the team finished the '96 regular season with a 5 and 5 record which was good enough to earn a spot in the leagues playoffs. The Generals went on to win a thrilling 22-20 come from behind win in Washington Courthouse, Ohio and later finished their season with a 33-18 loss to the Northern Kentucky Raiders in the MEFL semi-finals.
1997 brought a name change for the “new” Generals. The decision was made to rename the team to the Lafayette Lions; a decision made in an attempt to honor past Generals' players who had been a part of the winning and very successful program. With the new name and new found inspiration the Lions went on to a 12-2 record and the MEFL Championship title. Later that season, the Lions were invited to the Mid-States National Tournament, finishing the tournament 1-1.
Since 1997 the Lafayette Lions have been faced with the tasks of building a new organization while separating themselves from the Generals of old. During this time of rebuilding the Lions have experienced the merger of the MEFL with the Mid-Continental Football League (MCFL) as well as several very tough and very disappointing losing seasons.
The 2002 Season brings several managerial changes to the Lions. Owner Frank Jordan appointed Dan Mason to GM. Dan, in turn, convinced Brian Schremp, veteran Generals/Lions player, to accept the role of Head Coach. Together, Dan and Brian, with the help of the rest of their team of coaches, have taken a “back to the basics” approach and have brought structure and hard work back to the Lions' practice field - the likes of which have not been seen in Lafayette for a very long time. In addition, Frank, Dan and Brian made the decision to move the team from the MCFL to the Mid-West Football League (MFL). Though Lafayette teams have had success in the MCFL the Lions coaching staff thought the competition and financial commitment of the MFL were a better fit for this organization's team development. The team finished the season with a 4-4 record and a bright future was on the horizon.
The Lions goals are to provide the City of Lafayette a quality semi-pro football program that the community can be proud of and can provide an avenue for players to continue to play the exciting game of football.