From Jim Zorn to Bob Stoops, a look at the head coaches of the league’s eight inaugural teams
After its explosive but short-lived run in the early 2000s, the XFL will return in 2020 with new rules, a new structure and eight inaugural franchises across the nation.
Owned and operated by Alpha Entertainment, a venture of original XFL founder and WWE CEO Vince McMahon, the new XFL will kick off its 10-week 2020 season shortly after Super Bowl LIV under the guidance of commissioner and former NCAA executive Oliver Luck as well as president and former World Series of Poker commissioner Jeffrey Pollack.
Team names have yet to be revealed for the XFL’s rebooted franchises, which include big markets like New York as well as former NFL sites such as St. Louis, but all eight head coaches have officially been announced.
Team: Dallas Coach: Bob Stoops The first coach/general manager hire of the relaunched XFL, Stoops is easily the biggest name at his position across the league despite never coaching outside of college. The Sooners’ head coach for just under two decades, he compiled a 190-48 record from 1999-2016, leading Oklahoma to 10 Big 12 titles and a national championship. A six-time conference Coach of the Year honoree, Stoops became the only coach of the BCS era to win the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Sugar Bowl before retiring in 2017.
Team: Los Angeles Coach: Winston Moss A longtime defensive assistant for the Packers, Moss will take up head coaching duties for the first time in his career after years of being a speculated candidate for NFL jobs. Following a decade-long playing career, he first hit the sidelines in 1998 and has specialized in defense and linebackers since then, most famously serving as assistant head coach/LBs coach for Green Bay from 2007-2018, helping the Packers win Super Bowl XLV in 2010.
Team: New York Coach: Kevin Gilbride Gilbride gets the XFL’s biggest market after spending a decade in it as part of the NFL. A longtime Tom Coughlin companion, he first held a head coaching role in 1980, with Division II Southern Connecticut State, and then led the Chargers from 1997-1998. But Gilbride is best known for his 10-year stint with the Giants, first as QBs coach and then as a two-time Super Bowl-winning offensive coordinator. The 67-year-old retired after a dismal 2013 season but has more than 40 years of total coaching experience.
Team: St. Louis Coach: Jonathan Hayes Tasked with resurrecting football in St. Louis, Hayes will be making his head coaching debut after 16 years as the tight ends coach in Cincinnati. An original hire of longtime Bengals coach Marvin Lewis in 2003, he remained on staff until Zac Taylor’s regime took over this offseason. Before Cincy, Hayes coached the TEs and special teams at Oklahoma from 1999-2002, helping the Sooners win a national title under Stoops in 2000. He also had an 11-year playing career with the Chiefs and Steelers.
Team: Seattle Coach: Jim Zorn If Stoops is the biggest name league-wide, Zorn might have him beat in terms of local support. The 66-year-old is infamous for a short-lived head coaching tenure with the Washington Redskins starting in 2008, but he’s better known in Seattle as a Seahawks great — the first QB in franchise history and a one-time team MVP. Aside from his run in D.C., he’s had a number of stops as a QBs or offensive assistant, most recently with Seattle (2001-2007), the Ravens (2010) and Chiefs (2011-2012).
Team: Tampa Bay Coach: Marc Trestman Like Jones, Trestman has no shortage of experience across various leagues. A former University of Minnesota QB, he lasted just two seasons running the Chicago Bears (2013-2014) but has an esteemed CFL resume thanks to back-to-back Grey Cup titles as the Montreal Alouettes coach from 2008-2012, not to mention two CFL Coach of the Year honors and a third Grey Cup win with the Argonauts in 2017. Between the CFL and NFL, he owns a 90-73 career record as a head coach, with a 7-3 postseason mark.
Team: Washington D.C. Coach: Pep Hamilton Famous for instructing Andrew Luck as Stanford’s QBs coach before a promotion to the NFL, where he also paired with Luck as the Indianapolis Colts’ offensive coordinator from 2013-2015, Hamilton is a longtime offensive assistant with stops across both college and the pros. He’s logged 12 different positions with three schools and five NFL teams since starting his career in 1997, most recently serving under Jim Harbaugh as Michigan’s assistant head coach and passing game coordinator from 2017-2018.
Team: Houston Coach: June Jones The eighth and final hire of the new XFL, Jones has experience across the entire football spectrum. A former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, he’s had head coaching gigs in college (Hawaii, SMU), the NFL (Falcons) and, most recently, the CFL, where he led the Tiger-Cats to the 2018 postseason. An offensive mind who also once served as the Chargers’ interim coach, Jones is perhaps most famous for his work in college, going 76-41 with three bowl victories as Hawaii’s head coach from 1999-2007.