Lincoln Haymakers coach Dave Brumagen received a season-long suspension and a $500 fine from the Champions Professional Indoor Football League after an on-field incident last weekend in the Haymakers' game at Omaha.
Brumagen shoved Beef running back R.J. Rollins to the ground after Rollins scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown in Lincoln's 27-23 loss at Ralston Arena. An on-field scrum between Beef players and the coach ensued before eventually being broken up.
Four players — Kevin Cyrille and Rickie Simmons of Lincoln and Julius Nero and Chris Bradford of Omaha — were ejected from the game. Brumagen was penalized on the play but not ejected.
Six players — four from Lincoln and two from Omaha — were suspended one or two games. James Patterson, a defensive lineman for Omaha on injured reserve, came out of the stands and was suspended for the first four games of 2014.
Justin Hayes, director of operations and player personnel and an ownership partner with the Haymakers, said there were multiple incidents between the two teams that started before the game even began.
“Obviously, we want this to be a healthy rivalry,” Hayes said. “Most of our guys are friends with the guys in Omaha and they’ve played together. It got heated, and when the emotions are flying high, sometimes they get the best of everybody.”
Hayes said Brumagen will retain his front-office duties, and his possible return to coaching the Haymakers will be discussed at the end of the season.
As a result of the suspension, the Haymakers announced Wednesday that former Husker running back Cory Ross would be interim head coach. Also promoted was ex-Husker Josh Bullocks, who was named defensive coordinator after serving as the secondary coach for the first half of the season.
“We are excited to have Cory and Josh step into these roles, as we are confident they will be high-quality coaches that will continue to improve our organization for the future," Hayes said in a release.
"Given the adversity and circumstances we have faced as an organization, we are thrilled to have such classy individuals to lead our team.”
CPIFL commissioner James Bain confirmed that the Haymakers appealed the original four-game suspension of Brumagen. Hayes said the team just wanted the league to take a couple of days to look at the incident from all angles before making a final decision.
Lincoln has four games to play after a 3-5 start in its inaugural season. The Haymakers have one more home game — June 1 against the Beef.
“We try to put a good product on the field and have our guys be good role models,” Hayes said. “That’s why we chose two guys to lead this team who have played at Nebraska and understand what it means to be professional and make good choices.”