According to former coach Bob McMillen, the Rush has folded from the Arena Football League. | Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 29, 2013 11:39PM
The Arena Football League has spent nearly a year trying to find stable ownership for the Rush, including once selling the team to convicted felon David Staral Jr.
In the end, it was unsuccessful, and former coach Bob McMillen said the team has folded.
McMillen has been hired as the coach of the expansion L.A. Kiss. The league also added a team in Portland, Ore.
Once the league’s marquee franchise, the Rush went through two owners in nearly seven months, beginning Nov. 12, 2012, when Julee B. White bought the team. There are conflicting reports as to why White’s ownership ended, but the league released a statement in early February saying both parties had terminated the relationship.
The team was then “sold” to Staral Jr., who was not vetted by league personnel.
A Sun-Times report May 6 revealed that Staral Jr. had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy nearly a month before taking over the team. The filing listed debts of nearly $1.5 million and named 60 creditors.
He is a three-time convicted felon, including being found guilty of state-benefits fraud in 2005. Twice he pleaded guilty to embezzling large sums from his former employer, International Sports Management.
Shortly after the Sun-Times report, the league took control of the Rush but never found another owner.
McMillen, who always has been a staunch supporter of the league, feels fortunate to still be involved in the AFL. He was sentimental about his time in Chicago.
He played fullback and linebacker for the Rush, had his number retired by the team and began his stint as coach in 2011. He remained with the organization until it folded.
“All I can say is I had a great time being a part of the Rush organization as a player and a coach,” McMillen said. “Would I love to still be here in Chicago? Absolutely. But I’m just happy to still be a part of the Arena Football League and going out to L.A. and building something exciting out there.
“Who knows, if Chicago comes back later down the road and I’m available to coach there, I’d love to come back and be a coach again. But right now all I can do is what’s handed to me, and L.A. is what I’m looking forward to doing right now.”