Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 2, 2013

Wolves to switch leagues


---- — TRAVERSE CITY — The Traverse City Wolves will have a completely new set of opponents this season.

The semi-pro football team will be switching from the Great Midwest Football League to the Great Lakes Football League for next year.

Team owner Sean Liles said fans shouldn't notice much difference in the team's offerings, but hopes the move helps the franchise in several ways.

"It's a handful of things," Liles said. "The GLFL has been after the Wolves for quite awhile now. I didn't consider them previously because we were concerned about the league's stability and how young it was. But now, they've got quite the stability and consistency."

The GLFL was established in 2006, and the Michigan Gators won its first championship in 2007. The Wolves started up in 2007.

"The GMFL has been good to us," Liles said. "The competition is great. But they changed the schedule on us three or four times last year. That really created havoc on some admin stuff and marketing stuff. I really wasn't a fan of that part."

One area fans might notice is that most of the GLFL's current 12 teams are in Michigan.

The West Michigan Force are the league's back-to-back champions. The Force was 12-0 last season with several ex-Wolves on its roster, including running back B.J. Chandler and offensive lineman Shawn Hendricks. The Force didn't have a game decided by less than 16 points in 2013.

The Wolves were 5-5 last year in the GMFL, just missing out on a playoff spot.

Another big change will be in the coaching staff for the Wolves.

Art McGuff is slated to take over as head coach for Rich Micham. McGuff's son, Mason, is also a candidate to be the team's starting quarterback.

Last season, Art McGuff was the team's quarterbacks/running backs coach, while Mason McGuff missed most of the season with an injury.

Liles said he's been happy with the amount of interest in the team and attendance at voluntary workouts.

"We've had one conditioning practice already, and we had 19 guys show up," Liles said. "Which is kind of a surprise. I didn't think we'd get that much of a turnout.

"We've got a lot of interest. I think the word has gotten out a little more about things that have changed and what to expect. I've been getting a lot of Facebook and phone calls and emails from a lot of potential players."

Liles said the GLFL had commitments from 12 teams at last month's owner's meeting, including new franchises in the Oakland County Chargers — who are also coming over from the GMFL — and Michigan Vipers.