The XFL announced Thursday the first parts of the coaching and front office staff for the eight teams in the league for 2023 including who is heading to Dallas.
Fans saw on Twitter the announcement that included some familiar faces returning from the 2020 XFL. One coaching staff that stood out was Bob Stoops’ coaching which includes all former XFL coaches and a former front office member of another alternative football league.
With Stoops as head coach, former St. Louis BattleHawks head coach Jonathan Hayes joins his staff as the offensive coordinator for what should be the Dallas team. Hayes’ brother, Jay Hayes, was named the defensive coordinator for the upcoming season. Joining the team as the Director of Player Personnel is Rick Muller.
XFL Dallas Staff
Bob Stoops, Head Coach
New XFL Dallas head coach Bob Stoops isn’t a stranger to the XFL as he is the only coach from the 2020 XFL era to return as a head coach. Stoops comes into the league as one of the most experienced and decorated head coaches in the league.
He spent the first 15 years as an assistant coach in college football before landing his first head coaching job with the Oklahoma Sooners. This would lead to an 18-season run with the school that included ten Big 12 conference titles, nine bowl game victories, two national title appearances, and winning the 2000 national title. He was also a six-time Big 12 Coach of the Year award winner as well as AP Coach of the Year in 2000. Stoops never coached a losing season and made a bowl game in every season as a head coach.
In June of 2017, Stoops retired from coaching and would join Fox as a college football analyst. After less than two years in retirement, Stoops would step out and become the general manager and head coach of the Dallas Renegades for the 2020 season. The team would go 2-3 in the five-game shorten season before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the XFL to cancel their season.
When former Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Reily announced he was leaving the school to take the USC head coaching job in November, Stoops was named the interim head coach of the Sooners’ bowl game against Oregon. Stoops would go on to lead the team to a 47-32 win over the Ducks to give him the tenth bowl game victory of his college coaching career.
Jonathan Hayes, Offensive Coordinator
Another former head coach of the XFL returns as this time, Jonathan Hayes will step into the offensive coordinator role. Hayes has some familiarity with Stoops as his first coaching job was with Oklahoma as the tight ends and special teams coach. He would be on the staff until 2002 that including him winning a national title with Stoops in Oklahoma in 2000.
Hayes would have a long, successful run as the tight ends coach for the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL from 2003 until 2018 spending most of that time with Marvin Lewis as the head coach. During that time, the Bengals won four division titles and made the playoffs seven times. Hayes would help coach two Pro Bowl tight ends in Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham. At the end of his time with Cincinnati, he was asked in 2018 to coach the East team in the 2018 East-West Shrine Game.
Hayes would get his chance to be a head coach for the first time when the XFL announced him as the general manager and head coach of the St. Louis BattleHawks. The team would finish their five-game shorten season at 3-2 and tied for first in the East Divison. Hayes led one of the top rushing attacks in the league that consisted of a league-high three players in the top ten in rushing yards. Matt Jones was second with 314, Jordan Ta’amu lead all quarterbacks with 217 yards, and Christine Michael had 178 rushing yards. Ta’amu was the XFL leader in completion percentage (72%), third in passing yards (1050), and third in QB rating (101.3).
Jay Hayes, Defensive Coordinator
Jonathan’s brother, Jay Hayes, returns to the XFL himself as he resumes his role as defensive coordinator with Stoops this time calling the shots for his team. Jay has spent most of his coaching career in the NFL which saw him start his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a special teams coach from 1999 until 2001. He would spend the 2002 season with the Minnesota Vikings in the same position. Hayes would join Jonathan in Cincinnati as their defensive line coach from 2003 until 2015. The next two seasons would be spent in Tampa Bay coaching their defensive line.
Jonathan would give the reigns of the St. Louis BattleHawks to Jay to coach for the 2020 season. Jay would prove to be a good hire as the BattleHawks’ defense would be first in the XFL in points allowed per game (15.4) and second in total yards allowed per game (264.2). The defense only had one game where they allowed more than 20 points in a game.
Rick Mueller, Director of Player Personnel
Rick Mueller has a long history of being a part of organizations helping build teams from scratch outside of the NFL. Mueller spent the first three seasons of his football career being an assistant coach for Washington State. He would then be a defensive assistant for the World Football League’s Sacramento Surge in 1992. The next year he was the wide receivers coach for the CFL’s Sacramento Gold Miners.
He would make the move in 1994 to the front office of the Gold Miners as the director of player personnel. The next season saw him in the NFL where he would work in the scouting department for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1994 until 2000. He would then spend the next eight years with the New Orleans Saints’ player personnel department.
The United Football League came calling to have him be the vice president and general manager of the Omaha Nighthawks for two years. Mueller would leave the UFL to join the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office from 2012 until 2016. From 2018 until now, he has been serving as the executive director of player personnel for the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers which has seen the team win 11 games in each of the last two seasons including a 2020 Sun Belt Conference title.
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