Inside Stories

Pirates Announce Coaching Staff for 2024

Pirates Head Coach Rod Miller

by Mick Moninghoff, Pirates Broadcaster

LOWELL, MA – The Massachusetts Pirates have announced its coaching staff for the 2024 Indoor Football League Season.

The most significant change is that Rod Miller joins the organization as Head Coach. He will also be the Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach. Mark Stoute who was Head Coach last season will now become an Associate Head Coach, coach the defensive line and linebackers and become the Assistant Director of Football Operations.

Anthony Payton will return as Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach. Former Pirates’ wide receiver Bones Bagaunte will be the Assistant Offensive Coordinator and Wide Receivers Coach.

Three coaches who were on the staff last season will return as well. They include Patrick Carney, Offensive Line Coach, Billy Savary, Defensive Assistant, and Donnie Williams, Assistant to the Staff. William Tanda Jr. will be the Equipment manager.

Pirates Founder, Co-Owner and General Manager Jawad Yatim feels this may be the best staff the team has ever had.

“This is the most experienced staff we’ve ever had from both a league and organizational standpoint, and despite the longevity of some of their careers we feel that their purpose and motivation to succeed is still strong, multifaceted and genuine. We all have a chip on our shoulder and our daily approach will reflect such. We’re excited for 2024,” Yatim said. 

Miller becomes the sixth coach in the history of the franchise. He joins the Pirates after serving as the Defensive Backs coach for the Vegas Knight Hawks last season. His last stint as head coach was in Bismarck from 2019 through 2022 before the Bucks suspended operations, Miller was also a head coach in the China Arena Football League with the Qingdao Clipper. Prior to that, he led the Omaha Beef, the Trenton Steel and the Lardeo Rattlesnakes. 

Miller wants his new team to play an up tempo style. 

“We’re going to play hard, fly around to the ball and play smart. I want the guys to play fast. We’re not going to overload them with a whole lot of stuff. I don’t want them to have to think. I want them to pay fast,” Miller said. 

“A lot of teams are big on statistics. The stats I’m really big on are third and fourth down statistics. We want to be in the top five in third and fourth down percentage. Those are percentages where you win. In third down situations make them into fourth down situations. In fourth down situations, get off the field. Our goal is to get three stops per game. If you get three stops per game you should win the football game and that is the theory that we live on,” he added.

Having coached in the Arena Football League with Philadelphia and in New Jersey in the Southern Football League in Trenton, Miller is looking forward to being back on the East Coast.

“To me, you have the gritty, grimy, hard-working people on the East Coast so you expect those kinds of players. Guys who are going to go out, be scrappers and work hard. Bring your lunch pale and go to work. That’s one thing I’ve noticed about Massachusetts over the years. They’ve always had good talent all the way around offensively and defensively. Jawad (General Manager Jawad Yatim) does a great job of getting quality players. It’s a great situation where you have someone who is known for bringing in great talent and to be able to coach that talent and make them better; that’s the challenge for me that I’m looking forward to. Getting the chance to work with some great talent and see what I can do.  I’ve coached on both sides, both the East and West division, so coming back to the east, I’m familiar with a lot of these teams and coaches, so I’m excited about the opportunity to come back and work with some great players,” he said. 

Assistant Offensive Coordinator Bones Bagaunte (left) and Defensive Coordinator Mark Stoute (Right)

After guiding the Pirates to an overall record of nine and seven last season, Mark Stoute will now be the Associate Head Coach and Assistant Director of Football Operations. He will also be defensive line and linebackers coach.

“With Coach Miller coming in, I’ll work with him on the defense,” Stoute said. “I’m going to get more involved with the football operation side. I’ll have more responsibility in terms of travel and housing. There will be a lot of behind-the-scenes work. If we have a problem in one area or another, I can get more involved if I have too,” Stoute said.

“Back in the old AFL I was a GM and a Head Coach at the same time in Toronto. Over the years I have done a lot on the administrative side of football. Jawad (Yatim) handles a lot of the recruiting and I will assist him with that as need be as well,” he added.

Anthony Payton will be the Offensive Coordinator. In that role last season Massachusetts was third in yards per game with 250.1, fourth in scoring at 50.0 points per contest and fourth in passing with 173.5 yards per game. He will try to make his offense more efficient.

“Being able to have a core set of plays and a core set of concepts that we can effectively execute at any given time will make us efficient. That is the main focus for me, to get that group of plays down to where we can understand them and then we can build off that. I’m looking forward to being able to teach our players to be efficient, no matter what the circumstances are,” Payton said.

His Assistant Offensive Coordinator and Wide Receivers Coach is Pirates former wideout Bones Bagaunte. In 2018 Bagaunte had 54 receptions for 524 yards and 14 touchdowns for Massachusetts. In the Pirates’ championship season of 2021 he was the Offensive Coordinator and Wide Receivers Coach.

“I’m extremely excited. It’s a place that showed me a lot of love when I first started playing. Everybody backed me when I played and when I coached,” Baguante said.

As a wide receivers coach there is one key element that he will try to instill.

“Patience,” Baguante said. “The outdoor game is different from the indoor game. We’re blessed to get a lot of highly talented guys from the outdoor game to come and play in Massachusetts, so I have to teach them patience because the routes are different. There are different things you have to do to assure that you can get open. There are different angles and such so I have to slow them down in a sense and walk through it with them so that they can go full speed during the game. “Dew” more, say less is my motto,” he added.

About the Massachusetts Pirates
The 2021 United Bowl Champions; Massachusetts Pirates are members of the Indoor Football League (IFL) and play their home games at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508)452-MASS (6277), email or visit Follow the Pirates on Facebook via, Instagram @mass.pirates, and Twitter @mass_pirates.

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