A winner as coach of the Soul, Munsey struggling in Orlando

Bret Munsey, now coach of the Predators, led the Soul to the AFL title in 2008. steven m. falk / staff photographer
Bret Munsey, now coach of the Predators, led the Soul to the AFL title in 2008. steven m. falk / staff photographer
Posted: June 01, 2012

AS GLORIOUS as 2008 was for Bret Munsey, 2012 has been a disaster. It started with a player walkout hours before the season opener and hasn’t gotten much better.

Munsey was the head coach when the Soul won the 2008 Arena Football League title. He is currently in his first season as the head coach of Orlando.

"It’s been an uphill battle since Day 1," he said. "We just haven’t gotten the quarterback play you have to get to win games in this league. We haven’t gotten consistency at that position and the offense has struggled because of it."

The Predators have been prey for the rest of the AFL. They are 1-9 and their only win was a 27-24 victory over Georgia. A 27-24 score in the AFL is like winning a game 5-3 in traditional football.

"I feel bad for him because I know he’s a good coach and I know if he had a better team it would show on the field," said wide receiver Larry Brackins, one of just two current Soul players who were on that 2008 team. "The team is going through a lot of changes, a lot of injuries. I feel bad for him, but I still want to beat him."

Orlando threw a first-half scare into the Soul before Philadelphia overcame a 20-point deficit and won, 69-53, on April 28.

Former University of Florida star Chris Leak is the third quarterback Munsey has tried this year. One fortunate bit of timing for Munsey was essentially suspending wide receiver Bobby Sippio in early May. Three weeks later, on May 25, Sippio and another man were charged with the attempted murder and kidnapping of Sergio Moore, a brother of Sippio’s girlfriend.

When Orlando lost to the Soul in April, Sippio had five touchdown catches and was named the league’s offensive player of the week.

"It’s funny," Munsey said. "The last time I was in Philadelphia, I [started the season] 9-1. Now, I’m 1-9. But we’ll find a way to overcome all of this and get better."

Munsey’s time as the Soul coach ended when the AFL shut down following the 2008 season. No matter what happens in his life, Philadelphia will always be a unique place for his family. His first child, son Graydon, was born the week of the championship game.

"We had three great years there," he said. "It’s a special place for us. It’s going to be weird to go back with another team, but it’s going to be good to see some people and say hello." n

Contact Ed Barkowitz at barkowe@phillynews.com

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