The XFL returning only means that people like Dany Garcia, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and XFL President Jeffrey Pollack have a lot of work to do on filling out a staff. All eyes will be on who the commissioner will be in place of Oliver Luck, and how many of the head coaches will return.
Multiple coaches like Jim Zorn, June Jones, and Winston Moss have publicly stated they would like to return to the league. The XFL will focus on bringing back as many of their players, coaches, and staff as possible to make the transition easier. They will have to find a new coach to replace Pep Hamilton with the DC Defenders.
Hamilton took the quarterbacks coach job with the Los Angeles Chargers in the NFL, which leaves him out as an option for next season. With his departure, the league will have to fill at least one vacancy before playing in 2021 or 2022. The good news is they will have plenty of options to choose from.
Here is a list of three coaches the XFL could potentially bring in to replace Hamilton.
This one makes the most sense to bring in. Steve Spurrier has plenty of experience in coaching in professional spring football leagues. He coached the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL from 1983 until 1985 and coached the Orlando Apollos of the AAF in 2019. Let’s not forget the fact that he won a college football national championship with the Florida Gators in 1996, and won seven total conference titles as a head coach in college.
The track record is there for Spurrier, but the desire to coach in the XFL is there as well. Back in May, he told The Athletic’s Josh Kendall, “If that XFL cranks back up, and they want me to take a team down in Florida, I would probably do it.”
There’s a simple solution to make this happen: Spurrier could coach the Tampa Bay Vipers. If Vipers coach Marc Trestman wants to coach in the XFL again, the league could move him to the DC Defenders to coach there. It’s the simplest way to fix a small problem and the league has another big name college coach in the mix.
Mike Martz had the pleasure of coaching one of the greatest offenses in NFL history with the St. Louis Rams from 2000 until 2005. Martz compiled a 53-32 record during that time as he was a big reason the team’s offense was so dominant. After the Rams, he jumped around as an offensive coordinator for the Lions, 49ers, and Bears.
This is what makes him a good candidate for the XFL. His last job was being the head coach of the San Diego Fleet of the AAF in 2019. Despite the team having just a 3-5 record before the league folded, Martz found a way to make the offense click in the passing game and running game. Seattle Dragons running back Ja’Quan Gardner found early success, and Dallas Renegades quarterback Philip Nelson became popular after replacing Mike Bercovici during the season. Not to mention Martz had one of the best receivers in the AAF with LA Wildcats receiver Nelson Spruce.
Martz would have a lot of talent on the DC Defenders offense to work with. Cardale Jones and Tyree Jackson both had good and bad moments last season, but some development with an offensive genius could help. The rushing attack is deep with Jhurell Pressley, Donnel Pumphrey, and Khalid Abdullah leading the way. DC’s receiving core was among the best with Eli Rogers and Rashad Ross being the big names on the team. With a team like that, Martz would have no trouble constructing a top offense.
Not as big of a name as the other two on the list, but still someone that deserves a shot at being a coach somewhere. Just a year or two ago, Kris Richard was highly regarded as one of the top potential first-time head coaches in the NFL.
Richard saw success as the defensive backs coach with the Seattle Seahawks. He’s regarded as being one of the key pieces to the creation of the Legion of Boom secondary. Richard was able to hold a defensive coordinator job with Seattle before joining the Dallas Cowboys. He was not retained after last season with the Cowboys, making him a free agent.
It’s a surprise to many that he has not been picked up by someone after Richard was interviewing for NFL head coaching jobs not too long ago. This is a chance for the XFL to bring in an assistant coach like they did with Winston Moss and Jonathan Hayes, and give him a chance to be a head coach. DC’s defense was stacked last year and could get even better with Richard as a coach.
As a former morning sports anchor at KGNC 710 AM in Amarillo, TX and a former TV news reporter at KFDX in Wichita Falls, TX and KXII in Sherman, TX, I have a passion for all things sports (specifically football and basketball). The new look XFL got my attention as a spring football league that can work. I look forward to writing about all things XFL Dallas and covering it for the upcoming 2020 season.