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XFL coaches announced: Wade Phillips and Hines Ward among the big names

Vincent Frank
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As the league reboots in 2023, XFL coaches will be among the biggest stories with the league looking to overcome its struggles during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic back in the spring of 2020.

On Wednesday, the XFL announced who will be leading its teams once things get going in February of 2023. Among the big-name future XFL coaches, Wade Phillips and Hines Ward are the headliners. The list also includes NFL Hall of Famer Rod Woodson, former Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops and former NFL head coach Jim Haslett.

“Our head coaches are a diverse group of leaders, champions and hall of famers with experience competing and coaching at the highest level in football. Not only will they be mentors to our players, but they are also ambassadors of the XFL as we work together to build tomorrow’s league.

“What is most exciting about our talented coaches is that they all share our vision for the XFL and are committed to advancing the game of football for players and making it into a must-watch program for fans. The XFL is anchored in the belief of opportunity, and, just like our players, these football legends will drive the future of the game.”

Dany Garcia, Co-Owner and Chairwoman of the XFL on new XFL coaches

Wade Phillips headlines list of XFL coaches

xfl coaches: wade phillips
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Phillips, 74, is among the most-accomplished coaches in modern NFL history. He served as the head coach for the New Orleans Saints (1985), Denver Broncos (1993-94), Buffalo Bills (1998-99), Atlanta Falcons (2003), Dallas Cowboys (2007-10) and Houston Texans (2013).

More than his questionable history as a head coach, Phillips is known for being one of the top defensive minds of the modern era. Most-recently, he served in that role with the Los Angeles Rams from 2017-19 — helping lead that team to a Super Bowl appearance. The inclusion of Phillips as one of the new XFL coaches tells us a story that this league is serious about succeeding.

Bob Stoops served as the Oklahoma Sooners head coach from 1999-2016, earning one national title and winning seven major bowls. He was most recently the Sooners’ interim head coach this past season after Lincoln Riley departed for the USC Trojans. Stoops, 61, was the head coach for the XFL’s Dallas Renegades during the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

Another big name within NFL circles, the 66-year-old Jim Haslett served in a variety of roles during his near two-decade run in the league. He was most recently the defensive coordinator for the Washington NFL franchise from 2010-14. Haslett also served as the New Orleans Saints head coach 2000-2005, leading the team to a 45-51 record. He also served as the then-St. Louis Rams interim head coach in 2008 — posting a 2-10 record.

Taking a look at the other new XFL coaches

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  • Hines Ward: A four-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl MVP during his 14-year run with the Steelers, this former NFL wide receiver served as a New York Jets offensive assistant from 2019-20. He’s been the Florida Atlantic wide receivers coach since 2021, working under Willie Taggart.
  • Rod Woodson: Following his brilliant 17-year career that culminated in 11 Pro Bowl appearances and a trip to Canton, Woodson has made the transition to coaching. He was most recently the then-Oakland Raiders cornerbacks coach in 2017.
  • Terrell Buckley: Noticing a theme here? In search for new XFL coaches, the league is dipping its hands in the former NFL player pool. Buckley, 50, recorded 50 interceptions during an awesome 14-year career that included stints with the Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets and New York Giants. He’s been a coach as the collegiate level, most recently serving as the Mississippi cornerbacks coach in 2020 and 2021.
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  • Anthony Becht: A former first-round pick of the New York Jets, Becht played 12 seasons in the NFL. His best performance came in 2003 when the West Virginia product caught 40 passes for the Jets. Following his retirement, Becht served as the San Diego Fleet’s tight ends coach in the now-defunct AAF in 2019.
  • Reggie Barlow: Yet another former NFL player, Barlow suited up in the league for eight seasons. Known as a punt returner, he earned a Super Bowl title with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following the 2002 season. He was the Virginia State head football coach from 2016-21 and now makes his presence as one of eight new XFL coaches.