By now, you know who Jim Terry is. Whether you’ve seen him on TV or read about him in the newspapers, you know him for his eccentric behavior and his refusal to keep quiet when speaking out about his team, the Mahoning Valley Hitmen.
Whether you like it or not, Jim Terry has become the most recognizable person in the Mahoning Valley right now. Now, he’s taking the time to talk to New YTOWN.
NewYtown: Alright thank you for agreeing to this
JIM TERRY: SURE
NewYtown: First off…do you want to make an opening statement of any kind?
TERRY: I thank you for the chance to answer questions on your site. I think it’s great to be able to hit all branches of media BIG and small.
NewYtown: Thank you. I appreciate this as well, feeling my site has scored a major early victory by being able to interview who is possibly the most recognized man in the valley right now
NewYtown: I’ll start with this: I think you would agree with me that you’re more than a little eccentric when you promote your team. Some might say you’re a little insane. Is there a method to all this madness?
TERRY: Yes. Most teams at our level of pro indoor football don’t do a good enough job getting the word out. As you can tell that is 1 problem the Hitmen will never have.
NewYtown: when you were with the Carolina Ghostriders, the Citizen-Times reported that your motto was “no press is bad press.” Do you think your taking that maxim to an extreme, given the kind of press you’ve created for the Hitmen and yourself?
TERRY: I was the head coach of the Carolina team for about 3 weeks never got paid and the team folded. I did not own that team. I do think no press is bad press. You can push the line on many things but its all in fun. You’re not going to make everyone happy. So as of now no press is bad press. I am still owed thousands of dollars from the
Carolina team. So is Ms Williams a friend of mine who worked with the team. I have seen the good and bad at this level that’s why I know what to do now that I have a team I can do what I want with.
NewYtown: I didn’t say you owned them. I knew you were coach and gm. sorry. So you’d say that Robert Boyd was grossly unprepared to run the Ghostriders?
TERRY: Yes. He would even say that. He just won a $430 thousand dollar law suit against Andrew Haines of the AIFL and I should get my money if that ever gets paid.
TERRY: I still talk to Rob a few times a week.
NewYtown: If even he would say that, then why bother investing in the first place?
TERRY: some times people that watch football think they can run a football team that’s where the problems begin.
NewYtown: Alright. Now I think there’s still some uncertainty to this: Is Maurice Clarett signed and ready to play?
TERRY: It’s very simple…Clarett’s contract has some incentives in it about number of people at the game. We need to see how many people can fit in our arena total through the fire marshal before that is signed. As soon as WE KNOW HOWMANY PEOPLE THE THUNDERPLEX CAN HOLD HE WILL SIGN. Dave Anderson is doing a huge softball expo so when that’s done we will have him signed. For GOD sakes Clarett said this in front of the TV RADIO AND NEWSPAPERS “I will sign with the HitMen” People still don’t want to believe we got him.
NewYtown: All I wanted to know was if it was still a verbal agreement or if it had been set in stone…Now are you concerned at all about the possibility of jail time? The fact that the last time he played competitively was the 2003 Fiesta Bowl?
TERRY: http://www.wkbn.com/news/local/3291466.html?skipthumb=Y. See they tried to trash me, then he signed…He is still the big name in the area and the best athlete in the area. The Thunder wanted him and we got him. I don’t see him going to jail.
NewYtown: There is a lot of speculation he is out of shape, and those who say that have a case since being cut by
Denver. Has he done any kind of open workout with you?
TERRY: No. Not yet
NewYtown: Do you plan on conducting one or an open try-out anytime soon?
TERRY: We will see how he does in camp. Clarett’s football playing ability has never been in question.
NewYtown: Even though he’s your franchise player, you still have 2 other guys on your roster: Ray Marrow and PJ Mays. How’d you get into contact with them?
TERRY: I played against Ray we are friends and Coach Green with the Mahoning
Valley hardhats (semi-pro) got us with P.J.
NewYtown: Concerning the Thunderplex, we know it’s mostly a baseball/softball facility. How will it be set up to host the Hitmen?
TERRY: Dave Anderson already has that set up. We needed the space and people to help set it up. He is perfect for that. I would take the Thunderplex over the ICE ZONE or Chevy
Center any day. Ice Zone is too small and Chevy Center is too high of rent for this level of pro football indoor or AF2.
NewYtown: I was going to ask about the Ice Zone…The Vindicator said negotiations fell through because Bruce Zoldan wanted to see a business plan and financial specifics. Should this be a cause for concern among fans? Because I think we all, and I hope you as well, want to see a team that is here to last and is on solid financial footing.
TERRY: That is a lie. He never asked for that! We were told we could rent the ICE ZONE. He just backed out then would not talk to me face to face about it. It’s that simple. We were only renting his place. Everything happens for a reason. I love the Thunderplex!
NewYtown: So you’re saying The Vindicator got its facts wrong?
TERRY: I am saying after Zoldan backed out he looked bad so used that as an excuse. He still won’t talk to me publicly about it.
NewYtown: So you could say he’s another person who is out to make you look bad and see you fail?
TERRY: Not at all he just had other reasons for not wanting us and just did not want to come out and say it. We are past Zoldan now and it did not take long to find a better place.
NewYtown: Now forgive me if I’m being misled by The Vindicator again, but by the way they reported, it sounded as if you would’ve lost the chance to play in the Thunderplex as well, had you not shown up in Dave’s office with Maurice Clarett.
TERRY: Not that I know of.
NewYtown: Well they seemed to imply that.
TERRY: That has never been said to me by Dave Anderson
NewYtown: And I take your word for that. He speaks highly of you, aside from some concerns he had about the way you were running the franchise early on…Now given your “get whacked indoors” slogan, the website design, and calling Maurice Clarett your Hulk Hogan, can we expect the EIFL to be akin to the XFL, but an indoor version? Or will it be a more traditional indoor football league?
TERRY: more traditional indoor football league-BUT MORE FUN. I know what the people need to see to keep interest. We have a few more tricks in the next few months
NewYtown: So it’ll be football, but with a more carnival-like atmosphere with other attractions beside the game to draw people?
TERRY: YES INDOOR FOOTBALL WITH A SPICE… http://app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060722/SPORTS/607220442/1002 HERE is a great story about another team in our league.
NewYtown: If I can move back to the AIFL for a moment…before Carolina you coached
Steubenville, but resigned a week before the 1st game, and I think the whole thing was a little controversial. After having two bad experiences with the same league in one year, have you severed ties with the AIFL for good?
TERRY: They still owe me money. I don’t think the AIFL will be around next season several of the teams are jumping to other leagues this week. I read about it on www.ARENAFOOTBALLWEEKLY.com I get all the news first on that site.
NewYtown: I heard you played 1 game in the af2. Could you talk a little about that?
TERRY: I was in the AF2 in 2000 and filled in 1 game for a kicker named Tom Sellers who was out. My check came and it was $167.00 after taxes we had no food or place to stay. It was bad but I always wanted to say I played Arena Football and I did that in the AF2. SELLERS WAS DUE back the next game so I headed to the IFL AND SIGNED IN JOHNSTOWN
NewYtown: Yeah you’ve played in other indoor leagues I know.
TERRY: I made 300 a game and had food and housing.You need to give your players more then just $200 a game.
NewYtown: I agree with that actually…but I’m running short on time so I’m going to finish up here…the EIFL allows you to spend $5,000/week on player salaries..is Maurice going to be exempt from that?
TERRY: No we can fit him in easy.
NewYtown: Mr. Terry, thank you very much for taking the time and talk to New YTOWN.