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Former Iowa Hawkeyes receiver Marvin McNutt named Cedar Rapids Titans head coach

McNutt replaces Mark Stoute as third head coach in franchise history

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CEDAR RAPIDS – Marvin McNutt was looking to get into the football coaching ring.

The Cedar Rapids Titans are extending the opportunity to the former Hawkeye.

The Indoor Football League team announced McNutt’s hiring in a Tuesday press release, making the 27-year-old St. Louis native the third head coach in franchise history.

“My main goal as the Titans head coach is to coach them so we can win,” McNutt said in a phone interview with The Gazette. “But then also to where their skills are developing so they get the looks from the NFL coaches or another step above. … I want them to achieve their goals as a player. I think that is something that really excites me is I get to be a part of that process.”

McNutt replaces Mark Stoute, who went 42-21 and made the playoffs in each of his four seasons in Cedar Rapids. Stoute left the Titans for an assistant head coach and player personnel director position with the Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League.

“We wish Coach Stoute nothing but the best,” Titans Co-Owner/General Manager Chris Kokalis said in the press release. “We are grateful to him and his entire coaching staff for where they have gotten our program to today. It was an honor to have him in Cedar Rapids the past four seasons.”

McNutt agreed to a two-year deal that includes the title of Director of Corporate Partnerships. Kokalis is not averse to having a player-coach guide his team, evidenced by the hire of Hewerton Moreira as player/coach of the Cedar Rapids Rampage indoor soccer. McNutt – who is Iowa’s all-time leader in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns – says that won’t be the case with his football team.

“I am not putting the pads back on,” McNutt said with a laugh. “Let’s not start any rumors. It would be fun, but right now that is not my intention.”

Following a stellar career with the Hawkeyes (2008-11), McNutt was drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. McNutt spent more than two years in the NFL between the Eagles, Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins.

Since his playing days, McNutt has remained close to the game through Iowa football camps, personal football training sessions under the name McNutt Football, and a weekly football skills training series with fellow former Iowa receivers Kevonte Martin-Manley and Keenan Davis that included a stop at the U.S. Cellular Center that caught the eye of Titans management.

“We are extremely excited to have Marvin head our football program,” Kokalis said. “He had a tremendous college and professional career and we look forward to him bringing that success to our organization.”

McNutt has yet to name a staff, and while it is expected to include assistants with indoor football experience, McNutt stresses that having coaches who share his vision is paramount.

“You definitely want to have some guys that know the (indoor) game with you,” McNutt said. “That will be something that I am definitely looking for, but that doesn’t mean that’s the number one asset that I’m looking for. … I’m looking to add to what Coach Stoute brought because I think he did a great job. The guys got to the playoffs, and it’s our job now to take it a step further and try to win that championship.”

McNutt credited high school mentors, Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz and staff members he played for like strength coach Chris Doyle, former receivers coach Erik Campbell and former offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe who, in his words, “helped mold me into the player I am today.”

Which mentor McNutt emulates when the headset is on and the whistle blows for the first time remains to be seen. The Titans’ sixth season begins in February.

“I can kind of see myself being cool-headed, but at the same time get excited when I see my players doing something great,” McNutt said. “You just never know with coaching what side you might see from someone.”

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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