New Helsinki Wolverines head coach has had a great career in Europe!
Mark Garza is fiery and has coached in Europe for almost 15 years. He is now the head coach of the Helsinki Wolverines, the capital city of Finland, after arriving to help out in 2012. Everywhere he goes he turns teams around. This 43 year old California native first came to Germany in 1998 coaching for the Leipzig Lions.
“The biggest challenge was the language barrier,” he says. “I did a lot of coaching with hands and feet my first year in Germany.”
After returning to California for a season he came back to Europe to coach the Jena Hanfrieds in the German 3rd division. It was the first year they had ever had American players and a head coach at the same time. The team finished as co-champions of the league.
In 2002 Klangenfurt Cowboys of the Austrian 1st league signed Mark to take over a program that was fighting to keep their head above water. They had a great season and the following year he moved to theMagdeburg Virgin Guards in Germany as offensive coordinator. He returned to the Jena Hanfrieds in Germany in 2005 as head coach and led the team to a league title and helped the team to move up the German 2nd league.
In 2006 the Elencourt Templiers of the France 1st league signed him to the team in the EFAF cup and guided the team to the quarter finals.
He returned to the Magdeburg Virgin Guards as head coach in 2007. The team went undefeated that year winning a league title, only giving up 40 points in a 10 game season.
He spent part of the 2012 season as head coach of the Ljubljana Silverhawks in Slovenia guiding them to a 6-1 record. He moved up to Finland’s Helsinki Wolverines as defensive coordinator and again turned the team’s defensive records around.
Stephen Stokes who is a star of the Wolverines has this to say: “Mark Garza has made a huge difference in our team and we are so happy he is here”.