Wichita Falls Nighthawks

The Wichita Falls Nighthawks were a professional indoor American football team. They were based in Wichita Falls, Texas. The team was headquartered in Wichita Falls and played its home games at Kay Yeager Coliseum. The Nighthawks first joined the Indoor Football League as an expansion team in 2015.[1] The Nighthawks were announced as a member of Champions Indoor Football (CIF) for 2018, however, due to litigation, the team ceased operations for the season.

Wichita Falls Nighthawks
Established 2012
Folded 2017
Played in Kay Yeager Coliseum
in Wichita Falls, Texas
League/conference affiliations
  • Professional American Football League (2013)
  • Gridiron Developmental Football League (2014)
  • Indoor Football League (2015–2017)
    • United Conference (2015–2017)
Team colorsBlack, gold, silver, white
Owner(s)Drew Carnes
PresidentDrew Carnes
Head coachBilly Back
Team history
  • Wichita Falls Nighthawks (2012–2017)
League championships (1)
  • PAFL: 2013
Conference championships (0)
Division championships (0)
Playoff appearances (1)
Home arena(s)

The franchise started as an outdoor American football team that played in different minor leagues before joining the IFL. Their outdoor home was Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls.


The Nighthawks were founded in October 2012 as a minor league outdoor football team by Jerry and Michelle Hughes. They played in the Professional American Football League in 2013 and won the championship.[2] They played in the Gridiron Developmental Football League in 2014 but forfeited the season early due to financial struggles.[3][4] Hughes sold the team to Drew Carnes in the summer of 2014. Carnes' intention was to turn the franchise into an indoor football team. On August 25, 2014, the Nighthawks became official members of the Indoor Football League, the top indoor league in the country alongside the Arena Football League.[5] On August 26, 2015, James Kerwin was released as the Nighthawks head coach after posting a 4-10 record his first season with the team.[6]

On October 2, 2015, the Nighthawks officially announced that they had hired Billy Back to replace Kerwin. Back had previously been the head coach for the Nashville Venom, where he guided the Venom to a 2014 Professional Indoor Football League championship.[7] Back helped the Nighthawks highest scoring offense in the IFL and an 11–5 record and their first ever indoor football playoff appearance. The Nighthawks lost their first playoff game 36–66 to the Cedar Rapids Titans.[8]

The Nighthawks repeated as the highest scoring offense in the IFL, but with the removal of wildcards from the playoffs, the Nighthawks missed the playoffs. After the 2017 IFL season, owner Drew Carnes applied for membership in Champions Indoor Football in order to lower travel costs and league instability. Carnes had been losing $250,000 each of the previous two seasons with their closest travel game being eight hours away in Grand Island, Nebraska.[9]

On September 12, 2017, the Nighthawks announced that they had joined the CIF and signed a new three-year lease with the Yeager Coliseum. However, in October, the IFL notified the Nighthawks and the CIF of pending litigation against them for their withdrawal from the IFL. The CIF responded by stating they could not schedule the Nighthawks for 2018, leaving the Nighthawks league affiliation undetermined.[10] With the operational costs too high to return to the IFL and the lawsuit preventing them from playing in the CIF, the Nighthawks ceased operations.[11]


All-League selections

  • QB Charles McCullum (2)
  • RB Tyler Williams (2)
  • WR Jordan Jolly (2)
  • DL Terrance Lloyd, Walter Thomas (2)
  • LB/DB James Ackel
  • K Rockne Belmonte (2)
  • KR Tyler Williams

Individual awards

2017 Staff

Wichita Falls Nighthawks staff
Front Office
  • Owner – Drew Carnes

Head coach - Billy Back

Offensive coaches

  • Offensive assistant – Bill Serna
  • Offensive assistant – Rudy Hawkins

Defensive coaches

  • Defensive coordinator – Ernie Cooke
  • Defensive line coach – Brian Schmidt

Statistics and records

Season-by-season results

League Champions Conference Champions Division Champions Playoff berth League leader
Season Team League Conference Division Regular season Postseason results
2015 2015IFLIntense 5th4100
2016 2016IFLUnited 3rd1150Lost United Conference Wild Card 66–36 vs. Cedar Rapids
2017 2017IFLUnited 3rd1240
Totals 27190All-time regular season record (2015–2017)
01All-time postseason record (2015–2017)
27200All-time regular season and postseason record (2015–2017)

Head coach records

Name Term Regular season Playoffs Awards
James Kerwin2015 4100.28600
Billy Back20162017 2390.71901IFL Coach of the Year (2016)


  1. Wichita Falls Nighthawks Officially Join IFL – Indoor Football League, Chris Koetter, NewsTalk 1290.com, August 26, 2014
  2. "Minor Professional Football League Champions". semiprofootball.org. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  3. Koetter, Chris (July 19, 2014). "Wichita Falls Nighthawks Extinct, Cut Season Short". newstalk1290.com. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  4. Nighthawks' future in doubt, Jonathan Hull, Times Record News, July 5, 2014
  5. "Wichita Falls Nighthawks Join the IFL". Indoor Football League. August 26, 2014.
  6. "Nighthawks Part Ways With Head Coach". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. September 1, 2015. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  7. "Nighthawks hire Back as new head coach". www.timesrecordnews.com. Times Recorder News. October 2, 2015. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  8. "Nighthawks season ended in Wild Card round". www.timesrecordnews.com. Wichita Falls Times Record News. July 10, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  9. "Potential changes in store for Nighthawks". Times Record News. July 25, 2017.
  10. "CIF Commissioner Issues State of the League Address". Salina Scoop. October 4, 2017.
  11. "Nighthawks suspend operations for 2018". KAUZ-TV. October 16, 2017.
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