Digest (Feb. 7): Arena Football League expands to Columbus

Indoor football

The Arena Football League , which includes franchises in Baltimore and Washington, is launching a team in Columbus, Ohio, to begin play this spring. The team will play its home games at Nationwide Arena , and will play a total of 12 games during the regular season. The Columbus Destroyers played in the AFL from 2004 to 2008. Columbus made a trip to the ArenaBowl in 2007, when the team was led by quarterback Matt Nagy , now coach of the Chicago Bears . "We are thrilled to welcome Columbus to the Arena Football League, a league that is poised for significant growth and is uniquely positioned to deliver a more exciting, engaging football game with opportunities for betting, gaming and fantasy integration," said Ted Leonsis, chairman and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment and owner of the AFL Baltimore Brigade and Washington Valor. The team name and coaching staff will be announced in the coming weeks. The AFL, in its 32nd season, plans to release its 2019 schedule next week. The league also is expanding to Atlantic City, N.J., this season and also has franchises in Albany, N.Y., and Philadelphia.


Et Cetera

Tyrone Wheatley named Morgan St. football coach


Former Michigan star and NFL running back Tyrone Wheatley was named Thursday as Morgan State's 22nd head football coach, effective Feb. 21. Wheatley brings an extensive coaching résumé to the Bears. He served the past two seasons as the running backs coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars . Wheatley also worked as an assistant coach at Syracuse from 2010 to 2012, and then with the Buffalo Bills from 2013 to 2014. As a college assistant coach, Wheatley was one of Michigan's best recruiters and ranked No. 6 nationally on 247Sports recruiter rankings. "We are thrilled to bring a person and football coach of Tyrone Wheatley's caliber to Morgan State," Morgan State athletics director Edward Scott said. "Tyrone is an outstanding recruiter and understands the game of football at every level, both as a player and a coach. We are confident Tyrone can build broad support and engagement in our program while continuing to advance our football program in the classroom and on the playing field." Morgan State will host a news conference on Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the University Student Center to officially introduce Wheatley as Morgan's new head coach. Wheatley finished his Michigan football playing career as the program's second-leading rusher (now fifth) and then played 10 seasons in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders and New York Giants .

Navy football: The 2019 Navy football schedule released by the American Athletic Conference features six games at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium . The schedule: Aug. 31 vs. Holy Cross; Sept. 14 vs. East Carolina; Sept. 26 at Memphis; Oct. 5 vs. Air Force; Oct. 12 at Tulsa; Oct. 19 vs. South Florida; Oct. 26 vs. Tulane; Nov. 1 at UConn; Nov. 16 at Notre Dame; Nov. 23 vs. SMU; Nov. 30 at Houston; Dec. 14 vs. Army.

Horse racing: Jockey Angel Suarez recorded a hat trick Thursday at Laurel Park , winning three races on the afternoon program. Suarez kicked things off by winning the first race aboard Maynooth ($2.80). He then won the sixth race with Real Factor ($6.20) and the seventh race with the longshot She's Quiet ($18.60). Today's nine-race program will include a $7,613.04 carryover in the Rainbow 6.

From Sun staff and news services