The USFL spring league kicked off last weekend in Birmingham with many NFL alumni on the field, but it was the rival XFL that made even bigger headlines in the football world in recent days.
The XFL, which does not play its games under its new eight-team format until next year, announced all its head coaches last week.
The impressive list is a combination of two NFL veteran coaches (Wade Phillips, Jim Haslett), a record-setting college head coach (Bob Stoops), and five familiar NFL player alumni who are getting their initial head coaching assignments on the professional level. Haslett also played several years in the league.
Interestingly, with all the recent publicity, allegations, and denials regarding racism in NFL coaching hires, four of the eight XFL head coaches are Black.
The coaches have not yet been assigned to specific teams. The complete roster of these eight head coaches is as follows:

  • Reggie Barlow (Jaguars, Raiders, Buccaneers; 1996-2003) has been the head coach at Virginia State University the past six seasons.
  • Anthony Becht (Jets, Buccaneers, Rams, Cardinals, Chiefs; 2000-2011) has been a successful high school coach and popular sportscaster since his playing retirement in 2011.
  • Terrell Buckley (Packers, Dolphins, Broncos, Patriots, Jets, Giants; 1992-2005) most recently was cornerbacks coach at the University of Mississippi. He earlier was an assistant coach at his alma mater Florida State for five seasons (2007-2011).
  • Jim Haslett (Bills, Jets; 1979-1987) The former linebacker has been on several NFL coaching staffs and was head coach for the Saints from (2000-2005).
  • Wade Phillips never played in the NFL but has a 40-year coaching record on the college and NFL level. He has been head coach for the Saints (interim), Broncos, Bills, Falcons (interim), Cowboys and Texans (interim).
  • Bob Stoops never played in the NFL. He was an XFL head coach in 2020. His stellar college coaching record (192-48) at the University of Oklahoma makes him that school’s winningest coach.
  • Hines Ward (Steelers; 1998-2011) was an assistant coach at Florida Atlantic University last season. He also was on the Jets coaching staff in (2019-2020).
  • Rod Woodson (Steelers, 49ers, Ravens, Raiders; 1987-2003) has had several coaching assignments for the Raiders since his retirement as a Hall of Fame player.

The XFL franchise cities and stadia will be announced later this year. The XFL has formed a partnership with the NFL to create innovative programs with an emphasis on player safety.
The XFL also signed an exclusive agreement earlier this month with the NFL Alumni Academy in Canton to take advantage of the coaching expertise and facilities there in order to develop young players for the new league.
These two new leagues create a terrific environment for young men who are looking to play and coach on a level a notch or two below the NFL. We wish much success to all those involved.