Steven Folmar, a 1992 graduate of Meadville High School, has been named the head coach of the Raleigh Rebels of the American Indoor Football League, team officials announced Tuesday.

For a second-string high school player it is the end of a journey from stops as a player at Arkansas State University and Lock Haven University to coaching stops in Fresno, Calif., where he was the defensive coordinator for the Central Valley (Fresno, Calif.) Coyotes of the arena football league 2 in 2005, Bakersfield, Calif, Buffalo and Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

“I was not a very good player,” Folmar said. “I was not a gifted player, but I had a mind for the game and that has come out.”

While in Fresno, Folmar helped the Coyotes rebound from a 3-13 season to an 8-8 record. His defense finished the season third in fumble recoveries and in the top-five in the league in sacks. Folmar also was the special teams coordinator.

“You have no idea how long the road has been,” said Folmer, 32, whose mother, Agnes, still resides in Meadville.

Before his stop in Fresno, he was the linebackers/fullbacks coach and equipment manager for the Bakersfield Blitz of the arena football league 2 from 2002-2004. In 2004, Folmar was named the Director of Football Operations and Special Teams Coordinator as well. Folmar’s linebackers had the most sacks of any linebacking corps in the league and his special teams had the most field goal returns for touchdowns.

“He worked hard ... loved the game,” said former Meadville coach Ken Achenbach. “He had a passion for the game and wanted to pursue it beyond high school.”

Folmar started as a student assistant coach at his alma mater, Lock Haven University, working with the linebackers during the 2000 season. He also began an internship in football operations with the Buffalo Destroyers of the Arena Football League, which led to an assistant coaching job under then head coach Ray Bentley. Folmar returned to Lock Haven University where he received his degree in health and physical education with an emphasis in sports administration, with minors in coaching and broadcast journalism. After graduating in 2001, Folmar left to become defensive backs coach for Iowa Wesleyan College for one year.

“I packed everything I owned in a car and drove out to Mount Pleasant (Iowa),” Folmar said. “After that season, I packed everything in my car and drove to Bakersfield.”

And now Folmar has landed in Raliegh. Indoor football is played on a smaller field, but is recognizable to football fans with a few rule changes.

“I don’t know where this will take me,” Folmar said. “I don’t think it will lead to the NFL.”

The American Indoor Football League expanded from six teams last year to 16 teams this year. The league also plans an extended schedule, which will go from 10 regular season games to 14 regular season games this year.

The Rebels play in the same league as the Erie Freeze, the AIFL runner-up last season.

The Freeze and Rebels are not scheduled to meet this year, but could play each other in the postseason.

In 2005, the league’s first season the Carolina Sharks franchise was dissolved and a team named the Ghostriders replaced them with an entire schedule of road games. The Raliegh Rebels also played an all road-game schedule

Folmar said he is not concerned about the league’s solvency because he believes the league has put safeguards in place to prevent ownership difficulties.

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