Taking a Look at the XFL Head Coaches

XFL Head Coaches

We are less than two weeks away from XFL 3.0 kicking off. This attempt of the XFL will be led by new owners Dany Garcia, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Red Bird Capital. The task won’t be easy, former owner Vince McMahon tried to establish the XFL twice but was unsuccessful both times. While the XFL 3.0 doesn’t have a lot of big-name players, they do have coaches that are well-known in football circles. Today, we take a look at the XFL head coaches that will lead each team.

Taking a Look at the XFL Head Coaches

The XFL football operations will be led by president Russell Brandon, senior vice president Doug Whaley, and executive vice president Marc Ross. All three spent time in NFL front offices and reached high-ranking positions for several NFL teams.

While the XFL won’t be competing against the NFL, which would be impossible to do, they already have done something the NFL hasn’t. The XFL has diversity when it comes to its head coaches. Out of the eight XFL head coaches, four of the head coaches are African American. In the 32-team NFL, only six of their head coaches are minorities.

Each XFL head coach brings with them a different experience. You have a former successful NCAA head coach, one of the best defensive coordinators ever to coach in the NFL, a former NFL head coach, a standout HBCU head coach who also played in the NFL, and five others who were NFL players, one of which that has been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Today, we take a look a look at the XFL head coaches and what they bring to their organization.

Arlington Renegades

If you are a fan of college football, then you are well aware of who Bob Stoops is. Stoops was the long-time University of Oklahoma football head coach. He held that position from 1999-2016. His overall record while in charge of the Sooners is an impressive 191-48. A former six-time Big 12 coach of the year, he led the Sooners to a National Championship in 2020.

Stoops is the only returning XFL head coach from XFL 2.0. He led the then-Dallas Renegades to a disappointing 2-3 record. He is looking to rebound this season and show fans that not only is he a great NCAA head coach, but also can do it in the professional ranks as well.

Houston Roughnecks

At 75 years of age, Wade Phillips is the oldest of the XFL head coaches. Don’t let that number fool you, Phillips has more football knowledge in his pinkie than most people have in their entire bodies.

Phillips has been an NFL head coach five times (two of those times as an interim head coach). His overall head coaching record might surprise people because it seemed Phillips wasn’t a very successful head coach. Phillips sports an 82-64 regular season record as a head coach but does carry a 1-5 postseason record. He might not have the greatest track record as a head coach, but he is one of the most respected defensive coordinators to ever coach in the NFL.

He served as defensive coordinator for seven different NFL teams (twice with the Denver Broncos at different times). His 3-4 defenses were consistently at the top of defensive rankings. Expect the Roughnecks to be led by their defense this coming season.

San Antonio Brahmas

From 1998-2011, Hines Ward donned the black and gold for the Pittsburgh Steelers. While not overly athletic, Ward used every ounce of ability he did have to become a very solid NFL wide receiver. If there was a tough catch to be made across the middle, it was usually Ward making it. If a block was needed to free up Jerome Bettis on a carry, it was usually Ward making it. He was as tough as they come and Brahmas fans should expect the same from a team he is leading.

Ward doesn’t have a very long resume as a coach though. He was an intern for the Steelers in 2017, an offensive assistant for the New York Jets from 2019-2020, and the wide receivers coach for Florida Atlantic in 2021. Ward will need to lean on his staff for coaching advice.

DC Defenders

Out of all of the XFL head coaches, we are most intrigued by DC Defenders head coach Reggie Barlow. Similar to Ward, although not as impressive, Barlow played wide receiver in the NFL. He played from 1996-2003, for Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During that span, he finished his career with 39 catches for 522 yards with one touchdown reception.

Barlow was a successful HBCU head coach. He was the head coach of Alabama State and Virginia State, totaling a record of 83-58. He is hoping that success in the HBCU can carry over to the professional ranks.

Seattle Sea Dragons

Many might not know this about Seattle Sea Dragons head coach Jim Haslett, but he too was a former NFL player. A former linebacker, he played from 1979-1987, with the Buffalo Bills and the Jets. But many will remember Haslett from his time in the NFL as a defensive coordinator and head coach.

Haslett served as former Steelers head coach and Hall of Famer Bill Cowher‘s defensive coordinator from 1997-1999. His success running Cowher’s defense helped land him the head coaching job for the New Orleans Saints. He was the Saints head coach from 200-2005, finishing with a 45-51 regular season record and a 1-1 playoff record. Most recently, he was the linebackers coach for the Tennessee Titans from 2020-2021.

Orlando Guardians

The Green Bay Packers selected cornerback Terrell Buckley fifth overall in the 1992 NFL Draft. While Buckley never lived up to his draft status, he did play in the NFL from 1992-2005 with seven different NFL teams. He finished his playing career with 50 interceptions.

Once done with playing, Buckley jumped into coaching, in the college ranks. He coached cornerbacks for Akron, Louisville, Mississippi State, and most recently Ole Miss. Buckley was known for his swagger and not afraid to talk as a player, it will be interesting if he brings with him that approach as an XFL head coach.

St. Louis Battlehawks

In XFL 2.0, it can be argued that the Battlehawks were the prized jewel of the XFL franchises. St. Louis is hoping the fans from 2.0 will return for version 3.0. Most expected the franchise to hire a big name as head coach, one that would attract fans. Instead, they hired former NFL tight end, Anthony Becht.

Becht, a former first-round pick in 2000, played from 2000-2011 for five different NFL teams. He never came close to matching his draft status, ending his career with just 188 receptions for 1,537 yards, and 21 touchdown receptions. The only coaching position he has held was as a tight ends coach for the San Diego Fleet in the Alliance of American Football. Here is hoping that Becht is a better head coach than he was an NFL player.

Vegas Vipers

Super Bowl champion, six-time first-team All-Pro, 11-time Pro Bowler, and Pro Football Hall of Famer. When it comes to defensive back Rod Woodson, he accomplished all there was as an NFL player. In his career, which spanned from 1987-2003, with four different organizations, he accumulated 71 interceptions.

After the conclusion of his career, he worked for the NFL Network before jumping into coaching. He served, at two different times, as the Oakland Raiders cornerbacks coach. If Woodson is half the XFL coach that he was a player, Vipers fans will be thrilled!


Main Image: Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman – USA TODAY