Las Vegas, NV/Stamford, CT, August 10, 2000 At a press conference today in Las Vegas, the XFL announced Bob Ackles as the teams General Manager, Jim Criner as the Head Coach, and Don Gregory as the Player Personnel Director for the XFL-Las Vegas franchise. The XFL is a new professional football league jointly owned and operated by World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. (NMS: WWFE) and NBC.
We have hired an experienced group of professionals to assemble, manage and direct this franchise, said Basil V. DeVito, Jr., President of the XFL. Las Vegas is certainly an exciting city that is ideal for the type of football we will unveil in February. We feel that Las Vegas is a burgeoning sports market, and were confident that fans will enjoy and appreciate the product that we put on the field.
Bob Ackles joins the XFL after his fourth season with the Miami Dolphins as Director of Football Operations. He was responsible for contract negotiations, player personnel, and scouting operations on both the professional and collegiate levels. Ackles prior experience includes Director of Football Administration for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1995, and his debut NFL efforts in 1986 as the Dallas Cowboys first-ever Vice President of Pro Personnel and later as their Vice President of Player Personnel. He also spent three seasons in the Arizona Cardinals front office, and 11 years as General Manager of the Canadian Football Leagues British Columbia Lions. After joining the CFL at age 15 as a waterboy, Ackles became the first non-player to earn the Schenley Award of Excellence, awarded for his outstanding contributions to the CFL.
Jim Criner, with more than 30 years of coaching experience, currently holds more than 20 NFL Europe and World League head coaching records. In 1996, the former Head Coach of the Scottish Claymores led his team to a victory at the World Bowl and received the World League Coach of the Year Award. Starting his career as a high school football coach, Criner went on to coach at the college level at Utah, Cal State-Hayward, University of California-Berkeley and Brigham Young. He also served as the Head Coach at Iowa State for three years (1986-1983) and at Boise State University for six years (1976-1982).
Don Gregory brings twenty-six years of football experience on all levels of competition to the XFL. He joined the staff of the San Diego Chargers as a scout in 1995, after scouting players for the National Football Scouting Combine, the Canadian Football League and the World League of American Football for nine years. Gregory played linebacker for two seasons at a junior college, transferred to Portland State as an outside linebacker and nose guard, then played and coached as a graduate assistant at Whitworth College in Washington. Gregory played from 1979-1985 for the semi-professional Spokane Goldenhawks, and spent his last two seasons as a player-coach.
The Las Vegas franchise, which will be named at a later date, will play five regular-season home games at Sam Boyd Stadium. Additional teams have been confirmed in Chicago, Memphis, Orlando, San Jose, Los Angeles, Birmingham and New York City. The XFL -- which will have a ten-game regular season -- will kick off on February 3, 2001.