Stamford, Conn./East Rutherford, N.J., September 28, 2000 - XFL today announced that Rusty Tillman will serve as Head Coach for the NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY HITMEN. Tillman, who will oversee all HITMEN football operations, brings two decades of coaching experience to the XFL.
Tillman coached 16 years with the Seattle Seahawks. During his jaunt in the Northwest, Tillman held a variety of coaching positions including, special teams (1979-82), tight end/special teams (1987-91), and defensive coordinator (1992-94) a post he also held with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1995) and Indianapolis Colts (1998).
Looked upon as one of the foremost special teams coaches in football, Tillmans track record is impeccable. Under his tutelage in Seattle, his special teams squad was amidst the best in the league. The Seahawks special teamers led the league in punt coverage three times (1981, 83,85), in kickoff coverage twice (1982-83) and once in average punt return (1985).
Throughout his coaching career, special teams under Tillmans direction gave up only one kickoff return for a touchdown in roughly 1,500 kickoffs.
As a player, Tillman was overlooked in the draft, but signed with the Washington Redskins as a free agent and played seven years (1970-77) in the Nations Capitol. While in D.C., Tillman was dubbed "The King" for his versatility. He played seven different special teams positions and served as special teams captain from 1974-77. He was a member of Washingtons 1972 NFC Championship squad and his proficiency earned him a place on the Redskins 50th Anniversary Team.
During his rookie season in Washington, Tillman had a chance to play for his boyhood idol, the venerable Vince Lombardi, just before the coaching icon passed away. Tillman also played for another coaching great, George Allen, while with the Redskins.
Tillman was a two-time collegiate walk on, first with the University of Arizona, where he played for two seasons. He then transferred to Northern Arizona University where he played defensive end, linebacker, punter and tight end. While at NAU, he set the school record for punting average (44.5 yards/punt) and in 1984, was inducted to the NAU Athletics Hall of Fame.
Rusty brings a wealth of coaching experience to the XFL and the HITMEN; but it was his accomplishments as a special teams coach that allowed him to stand above the crowd, said Drew Pearson, Vice President and General Manager of the HITMEN. He has the ability to excel in the New York/New Jersey market because of his intensity and aggressive approach to the game.
Tillman is married to Lorri and they have three sons: Joshua (14), Jason (9) and Jacob(7); and a daughter, Rachael (11). Rusty also has a daughter, Emily (21). The Tillmans reside in Seattle, Wash. Although a native of Beliot, Wisc., Tillman is an avid New York sports fan.
I couldnt be more excited about the opportunity to be one of only eight head coaches in the XFL, said Tillman. Im truly looking forward coaching in New York/New Jersey, as I have many personal relationships and fond memories from coaching and playing in the area for so many years. Im also elated that I will have a chance to interact with Drew Pearson on a regular basis.
The New York/New Jersey HITMEN will play 10 games during the XFL regular season beginning on February 3, 2001. Home games will be played at Giants Stadium. Ticket reservations and other information may be obtained by logging on to www.xfl.com