Rob Keefe
refer to caption
Keefe at the Empire’s Arena Bowl XXXII victory celebration in 2019
Bay Area Panthers
Position:Assistant head coach & defensive coordinator
Personal information
Born: (1980-11-05) November 5, 1980 (age 42)
Springfield, Virginia
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
College:Mercyhurst College
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career Arena statistics
Pass breakups:3
Kickoff returns:18
Kickoff return yards:339
Head coaching record
Regular season:75–35 (.682)
Postseason:8–5 (.615)
Career:83–40 (.675)
Player stats at

Rob Keefe (born November 5, 1980) is a former arena football defensive specialist and coach. Keefe has five championship victories and is the only person in arena football history to win ArenaCup (af2) and ArenaBowl (AFL) titles as both a player and a coach. As of the 2022 season, he is an assistant head coach and defensive coordinator with the Northern Arizona Wranglers in the Indoor Football League.[1]

Playing career


Keefe attended Mercyhurst College (Erie, PA) from 1999 to 2003. He delivered nine interceptions in his career and ranks 27th in school history with 166 career tackles. Also a standout on special teams, Keefe holds the school's career record with 643 yards on punt returns.[2]

Spokane Shock

Keefe joined the Spokane Shock (then af2) for the club’s inaugural season in 2006, helping the franchise secure its first ArenaCup Championship. He ended his two-year tenure with the Shock as the team’s career leader in tackles (168) and interceptions (19), twice earning all-af2 accolades as a defensive back.

Philadelphia Soul

Keefe entered the AFL in 2008 as a member of the Philadelphia Soul. In his only AFL season as a player, Keefe helped the Soul earn a victory over the San Jose SaberCats in ArenaBowl XXII.

Coaching career

Spokane Shock

In 2009, Keefe joined the Spokane Shock as the defensive backs coach. That season, the Shock boasted the af2’s top-ranked scoring defense, allowing just 37.6 points per game. Keefe’s secondary surrendered the fifth-lowest number of passing yards per game (231.6) and registered the second-highest interception total in the league (34). The season culminated in an ArenaCup Championship title.

Keefe was promoted to head coach of the Shock when the organization joined the Arena Football League in 2010. Under Keefe’s guidance, Spokane finished with the best record in the AFL (13-3 regular season) while producing the League’s fourth-ranked scoring defense (52.7 ppg). Keefe became the youngest coach in AFL history to win a championship, as the Shock defeated the Tampa Bay Storm in ArenaBowl XXIII.

Orlando Predators

Keefe began the 2012 season as the offensive coordinator of the Orlando Predators. On April 10, 2012, it was announced that Keefe had been fired and replaced as offensive coordinator by Ben Bennett.[3]

Utah Blaze

Keefe took over as the new Defensive Coordinator of the Utah Blaze midway through the 2012 season and engineered a dramatic turnaround on that side of the ball. After allowing an average of 64 points over the first 10 games of the season, Utah allowed just over 51 points per contest under Keefe. In the opening round of the 2012 postseason, the change in culture was loudly put on display as the Blaze defense surrendered a mere 34 points in a victory over the top-seeded San Antonio Talons.

Orlando Predators

On December 24, 2013, Keefe was named the new head coach of the Orlando Predators.[4] In his first season as head coach of the Orlando Predators, Keefe directed the franchise to its first division title since 2006, coming within one win of a berth in the Arena Bowl. The 2014 Orlando Predators secured the South Division Championship and reached the American Conference Championship after knocking off the 15-3 Pittsburgh Power in the opening round of the postseason.

Albany Empire

On November 7, 2017, Keefe was named the head coach of the AFL 2018 expansion team in Albany[5] later named the Albany Empire. He led the team to a victory in Arena Bowl XXXII in their second season. The Arena Football League, and all its teams, folded after the season.

In 2020, a new Albany Empire was launched in the National Arena League to begin play in the 2021 season, with Keefe announced as the inaugural coach.[6] He resigned on April 12, 2021, before ever coaching a game for the new team due to disagreements with the new owners.[7][8] The next day, he was hired by the Iowa Barnstormers of the Indoor Football League to be the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator under Les Moss, who had been Keefe's assistant in Albany.[9]

Head coaching record

Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
SPO 2010 13 3 .813 1st in NC West 3 0 1.000 Defeated Tampa Bay Storm in ArenaBowl XXIII
SPO 2011 9 9 .500 2nd in NC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Arizona Rattlers in Conference Semifinals
SPO total 22 12 .647 3 1 .750
ORL 2014 11 7 .611 1st in AC South 1 1 .500 Lost to Cleveland Gladiators in American Conference Final
ORL 2015 12 6 .667 1st in AC South 0 1 .000 Lost to Jacksonville Sharks in Conference Semifinals
ORL 2016 12 4 .750 2nd in AC 0 1 .000 Lost to Jacksonville Sharks in Conference Semifinals
ORL total 35 17 .673 1 3 .250
ALB 2018 8 4 .667 1st in AFL 1 1 .500 Lost to Washington Valor in Semifinals
ALB 2019 10 2 .833 1st in AFL 3 0 1.000 Defeated Philadelphia Soul in ArenaBowl XXXII
ALB total 18 6 .750 4 1 .800
Total[10] 75 35 .682 8 5 .615


  1. ^ "WRANGLERS ANNOUNCE FULL 2022 COACHING STAFF". Northern Arizona Wranglers. November 9, 2021.
  2. ^ "Rob Keefe Set To Shine On ESPN2 Monday - MERCYHURST COLLEGE OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE". 2008-04-25. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  3. ^ Frank, Jared (Apr 10, 2012). "Orlando Fires Former Shock Coach Rob Keefe". Archived from the original on March 12, 2018. Retrieved March 12, 2018.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ "Orlando Predators Introduce Rob Keefe As New Head Coach". December 24, 2013. Archived from the original on December 26, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  5. ^ "Albany AFL Names Rob Keefe as Head Coach". November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  6. ^ "'I look at it as an opportunity,' Rob Keefe says of return to Albany". Times Union. September 8, 2020. Retrieved April 12, 2021.
  7. ^ "Rob Keefe steps down as coach of Albany Empire". Times Union. April 12, 2021. Retrieved April 12, 2021.
  8. ^ "Rob Keefe: 'When visions don't align ... sometimes it's difficult to move forward'". Times Union. April 12, 2021. Retrieved April 12, 2021.
  9. ^ "Barnstormers Name Rob Keefe as Assistant Head Coach". OurSports Central. April 13, 2021.
  10. ^ "Rob Keefe Coaching Record". Retrieved July 7, 2014.