An Arena Football League Hall of Fame inductee, three-time ArenaBowl champion and two-time AFL Coach of the Year, Darren Arbet brings a passion and work ethic that is unmatched in the league. Entering 2013, his 17th season with the franchise, Arbet begins his 13th as head coach and third as part owner of the franchise.
Arbet’s dedication and leadership turned the SaberCats into a perennial powerhouse, with Arbet ranking fourth all-time in regular season wins (126), fifth in winning percentage (.670) among coaches with at least 50 games coached and second in postseason winning percentage (.682) among coaches with at least 15 games coached. In 2007, Arbet became the fifth head coach in AFL history to win 100 games when San Jose defeated the Las Vegas Gladiators, 61-34. He is the third fastest coach to accomplish the feat, reaching the century mark in just 145 games.
A leader of one of the most dominating teams over the past decade, he guided the SaberCats to their ninth straight winning season and playoff appearance in 2008 after finishing the year with an 11-5 record - the eighth time in his 11 seasons the team has posted a double-digit regular season win total. The club also captured its third straight Western Division title and seventh under Arbet (eighth overall). He became only the second head coach in the history of the AFL to win three ArenaBowl titles after the SaberCats defeated the Columbus Destroyers, 55-33, on July 29, 2007.
Due to the franchise’s success and winning acumen since being named head coach in 1999, Arbet has been elevated within the organization throughout his SaberCats career. He was named the team’s player personnel director the following season, remaining in that capacity until taking over general manager duties prior to the 2006 campaign, before being named owner of the franchise in 2011.
After playing four years at defensive end for Sacramento State (1981-85), Arbet joined the recently formed Arena Football League in 1988, playing fullback/linebacker for the Los Angeles Cobras and continued in 1989 with Maryland Commandos. New to the league, he fell in love with the sport that would later become a lifelong career.
Before he could fully pursue the indoor game, his career was cut short due to a major wrist injury he had suffered while playing. Coaching seemed like the natural progression in his career, due to his passion for football.
Provided his first opportunity to coach, Arbet was given the assignment of coaching tight ends at his alma mater, while assisting with special teams and serving as the athletic department’s academic advisor.
Some of the coaches that Arbet worked with during his time at Sacramento State included former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, now with the Oakland Raiders, the tight ends coach for the Denver Broncos, Clancy Barone as well as Robert Price, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons. Part of his success he credits to these men who gave him his first taste of coaching.
After getting his feet wet at Sacramento State, Arbet heard about an opening back where his playing career ended, the Arena Football League. He was hired to serve as an assistant to then defensive coordinator of the Albany Firebirds, Doug Kay, working with the fullbacks and linebackers while breaking down game film.
Receiving his first chance as a defensive assistant and special teams coordinator in 1995, Arbet never looked back. He was named head coach of the SaberCats in 1999 and immediately began to turn the SaberCats into one of the most successful franchises the AFL has seen over the past 25 years.
Arbet has had the fortune of working with some of the greatest minds in Arena Football, including Terry Malley, Skip Foster and Jeff Jarnigan. He doesn’t believe that he would be here without the assistance of these coaches who have enjoyed great success themselves as head coaches in the AFL.
In his continued effort to grow both as a coach and person, Arbet has taken part in the National Football League’s Minority Internship Program. In 2004 Arbet was in the Atlanta Falcons’ training camp, working as a special teams assistant and spent the 2003 offseason with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ coaching staff for three weeks during their training camp.
Like many other players and coaches, Arbet has spent time in the broadcast booth. He recently served as a color analyst for Comcast Cable’s coverage of high school and college football in the Bay Area delighting the viewing public with his keen insight and knowledge of the game. Arbet could also be heard on radio coverage of Sacramento State University football and was the radio analyst for national coverage of the 2004 Silicon Valley Football Classic.
Arbet, a native of Stockton, Calif., was inducted into that city’s Black Sports Hall of Fame, alongside other football greats like Derek Kennard and Webster Slaughter.
Arbet attended Edison High School in his hometown of Stockton where he competed in both football and track. He is the father of two sons, Lamarr and Dominik, and resides in the Bay Area.