With the XFL season five months away, Arlington fans found out the full coaching staff leading the team onto the field starting February of 2023.
The league announced the news on Tuesday morning with all eight teams releasing their full coaching staffs. This marks the first significant news the XFL announced since their town hall in July when they released the cities and stadiums.
Arlington fans should recognize plenty of names on the coaching staff with former XFL head coaches and assistant coaches being on staff. With multiple years of experience on the staff, Arlington appears to have one of the deepest, more experienced coaching staff in the XFL.
Head Coach, Bob Stoops
Safe to say Bob Stoops is arguably the most recognized name on the staff for multiple reasons. Stoops is the only head coach returning to the XFL in the same role as he did in 2020. His background with what he did in college football makes him one of the most decorated 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, four BCS 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 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.
Director of Team Operations, Matt McMillen
Another returning member of the original Dallas Renegades team with Matt McMillen rejoining the front office for the team. McMillen and Stoops have a long history together as they were together at the University of Oklahoma as far back as 1999. While with the Sooners, McMillen served as Director of Football Operations for Stoops helping the team make four national titles in the process.
In 2019, he joined the XFL and teamed up with Bob Stoops in building the Dallas Renegades’ roster from scratch. Back in June, McMillen was announced by the league as one of the Directors of Team Operations for the upcoming 2023 season.
Director of Player Personnel, Rick Mueller
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.
Co-Offensive Coordinator, Jonathan Hayes
Jonathan Hayes steps into the co-offensive coordinator role after spending time in the XFL in 2020 being the head coach in St. Louis. 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 which included 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).
Co-Offensive Coordinator, Chuck Long
Another former Bob Stoops assistant coach is joining the Arlington staff as co-offensive coordinator for the team. Chuck Long was a star quarterback in college for the Iowa Hawkeyes winning the Davey O’Brien award and Maxwell award in 1985. Long played in the NFL from 1986 until 1994 before he got into coaching.
He started as an assistant coach for Iowa from 1995 until 1999 where he would then join Stoops in Oklahoma. Long served as Stoops’ offensive assistant coach from 2000 until 2005 where he would land his first head coaching job with San Diego State. In three seasons with the Aztecs, he recorded a 9-27 record before being relieved of his duties in 2008. He would join Kansas in 2010 as their offensive coordinator for a short time before taking a break from the college ranks.
Jonathan Hayes would make the call to Long to join the St. Louis coaching staff as their running backs coach. That would change just before the 2020 season when former offensive coordinator Doug Meacham took a job with TCU resulting in Long taking the job. He proved quickly to be the right man for the job coaching the number one rushing attack in the XFL in five games.
Running Back Coach, Reggie Davis
Reggie Davis has coached running backs, tight ends, and offensive lines since the early 2000’s on multiple teams in college and the NFL. Before coaching, Davis had a brief stint in the NFL as a tight end for the San Diego Chargers from 1999 until 2000. He would first spend time as an assistant offensive coach in college from 2004 until 2010 with San Diego, UNLV, and Oregon State.
The NFL came calling to Davis as he spent time coaching the tight ends and offensive line with the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2014. He would return to college to coach the running backs at Nebraska for three seasons. Davis would join the XFL for Jonathan Hayes’ staff as his running back coach for the St. Louis BattleHawks. His unit was among the deepest and best in the league led by Matt Jones and Christine Michael.
Offensive Line/Special Teams Coach, Jonathan Himebauch
Jonathan Himebauch has been highly regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches in spring football with his years of experience building offensive lines from scratch and turning those units into top-tier talents. Himebauch started his professional coaching career in the CFL for the Calgary Stampeders in 2003 coaching their offensive line.
He would coach UNLV’s offensive line in 2004 before being the head coach for Harvard-Westlake School in 2005. His run in the CFL and college coaching offensive lines spanned from 2006 until 2018 coaching for San Diego State, the Montreal Alouettes, Wake Forest, Edmonton, Toronto twice, and Nevada.
Himebauch would get his first taste of American spring football as a coach when he joined the AAF coaching the offensive line for the San Antonio Commanders. His first XFL coaching appearance came when he coached the Tampa Bay Vipers’ offensive line in 2020. From 2020 until 2021, he coached Air Force’s tight ends. He spent this past spring coaching in the USFL for the league champion Birmingham Stallions’ offensive line.
Tight Ends/Special Teams Coach, Scott Spurrier
Scott Spurrier is all too familiar with working on Bob Stoops’ staff in the XFL as he is another returning assistant coach to the league. Spurrier spent eight seasons as an assistant coach with South Carolina where his father, Steve Spurrier, coached in college. He also spent time as an offensive quality control assistant at South Florida as well.
Spring football has been a part of Spurrier’s coaching resume too as he coached in the AAF under his father’s Orlando Apollos team coaching tight ends and special teams in 2019. He would rejoin spring football coaching under Stoops with the Dallas Renegades also coaching the tight ends and special teams in 2020. Spurrier would join the Arizona Wildcats staff as a special team analyst afterward before his return to the XFL.
Co-Defensive Coordinator, Jay Hayes
Jonathan’s brother, Jay Hayes, returns to the XFL himself as he resumes his role as co-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.
Co-Defensive Coordinator, Tim Lewis
A known spring football coach, Tim Lewis leaves the USFL for the XFL. Most of his career is in the NFL with defensive coordinator stops with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants.
Lewis has had three stops in spring football leagues. His first stop was in the AAF where he was head coach of the Birmingham Iron. The Iron was one of the top teams in the AAF and was on its way to a playoff appearance before the league ceased operations after eight games. Birmingham finished the season with a 5-3 record with Lewis as head coach.
He would return to spring football in the XFL as the defensive backs coach for the St. Louis BattleHawks in 2020. Lewis would be in that position before the XFL also had to shut down operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. His most recent stop was the USFL this past spring/summer as the defensive coordinator for the Houston Gamblers which included two of the best defensive players in the league Chris Odom and Donald Payne.
Linebackers Coach, Bill Sheridan
Bill Sheridan is a well known, long-tenured defensive assistant coach on all levels of football and has been doing it since the early 80’s. Sheridan coached most defensive positions in college from 1987 until 2004. Back in 2005, he would join the NFL with the New York Giants as their linebackers coach from 2005 to 2008. He would get his first defensive coordinator job with the Giants for one season in 2009 before getting fired after that season.
Sheridan coached the Miami Dolphins linebackers from 2010 until 2011 until landing his second defensive coordinator job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons before being relieved of his duties in early 2014. Three seasons was spent coaching the Detroit Lions linebackers up until 2017 where he returned to college as an assistant on defense and special teams. From 2018 until this year, he coached for Boston College, Air Force, and Wisconsin.
Cornerbacks Coach, Marvin Sanders
Mark another returning Dallas Renegades assistant coach in Marvin Sanders. From 1992 until 2003, Sanders coached different defensive positions in college before landing his first defensive coordinator job. North Carolina hired him to lead their defense from 2004 until 2006. He would coach Nebraska’s defensive back for three seasons before landing his second defensive coordinator job at Florida Atlantic. That was short-lived as he had the job for two months before joining Lane Kiffin’s staff at USC as defensive backs coach.
His stint at USC lasted one season before he was relieved of his duties. He did land a head coaching job at the high school level for Loyola High School in Los Angeles for three seasons. Sanders joined the Coastal Carolina coaching staff in 2018 as defensive coordinator for just one season. Stoops brought Sanders on in 2020 to coach the defensive backs with the Dallas Renegades.
Quality Control, Michael George
Michael George’s experience mostly lies in college working at schools including Villanova, Ohio, and Ohio State. From 2016 until 2019, Geroge served as Director of Player Personnel for Texas State. The AAF came into George’s sights when he joined the league as the operations assistant for the San Antonio Commanders.
A few months later, he joined the XFL for the St. Louis BattleHawks as the assistant to the head coach and assistant defensive line coach. He’s currently in the high school ranks as he is the co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Manor High School.
Equipment Manager, Blake Kuenzi
Blake Kuenzi has a long history with Bob Stoops from their time with the University of Oklahoma. Kuenzi was a graduate of Oklahoma where he was a student manager from 2001 until 2005. He moved his way up in the school eventually becoming associate director of athletics equipment in 2013.
Stoops added Kuenzi to his Dallas Renegades staff as their head equipment manager for the 2020 season. After his time with the XFL, Kuenzi would join the Big 12 again with this stint being with the Kansas Jayhawks as their head football equipment manager. He will now make his third stint working for Stoops as he rejoins the XFL.
Video Manager, Chris Crooks
Chris Crooks will also make his return to the XFL after working for the Dallas Renegades back in 2020. Crooks started his career with Southern Miss as their director of video operations from 2010 until 2011. The next seven years would be spent at the University of New Mexico as their video coordinator.
In 2019, Crooks got his first taste of spring football joining the AAF as video director for the Arizona Hotshots. Shortly afterward, he would join the XFL and the Dallas Renegades as their video manager. Air Force would be his next stop as the director of football video operations for almost two years before a return to the XFL.
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