The Rock Announces Bob Stoops, Hines Ward, More XFL Head Coaches for 2023 Season

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVApril 13, 2022

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 22:  Assistant coach Hines Ward of the New York Jets looks on against the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium on December 22, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The eight head coaches for the 2023 relaunch of the XFL were revealed Wednesday on ESPN.

During an appearance by XFL owners Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Dany Garcia on ESPN's Get Up, the following names were announced as head coaches for the 2023 season:

Kevin Seifert @SeifertESPN

On ESPN, the <a href="https://twitter.com/XFL2023?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@XFL2023</a> just announced the league's 8 head coaches for its 2023 return to the field. They are: <br><br>Wade Phillips<br>Bob Stoops<br>Terrell Buckley<br>Hines Ward<br>Rod Woodson<br>Reggie Barlow<br>Anthony Becht<br>Jim Haslett<br><br>Owners <a href="https://twitter.com/DanyGarciaCo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DanyGarciaCo</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/TheRock?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheRock</a> are on <a href="https://twitter.com/GetUpESPN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GetUpESPN</a> now.

Former NFL head coaches Wade Phillips and Jim Haslett, as well as former University of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, will join the league. Former NFL stars Hines Ward and Rod Woodson are set to receive their first head coaching opportunities at the professional level.

In terms of previous head coaching experience, Phillips, Haslett and Stoops are undoubtedly the biggest gets for the XFL.

Aside from being a longtime NFL defensive coordinator, the 74-year-old Phillips spent 12 seasons as an NFL head coach. He was a full-time head coach of the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys and served in an interim capacity for the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans.

All told, Phillips accrued an 82-64 record during the regular season and led teams to the playoffs on five occasions.

Haslett, 66, has long been an NFL assistant coach on the defensive side of the ball, but he is best known for his six years as head coach of the Saints from 2000 to 2005, going 45-51 with one playoff appearance. He also went 2-10 as the then-St. Louis Rams' interim head coach in 2008.

Stoops spent 18 seasons as the Sooners' head coach from 1999 through 2016 and served as the interim head coach for two games last season after Lincoln Riley's departure.

He is one of the most successful head coaches in college football history with a 191-48 record, 10 Big 12 championships and one national championship to his credit.

The 61-year-old Stoops is also the only returning head coach from the 2020 version of the XFL, which saw him lead the Dallas Renegades.

The other five XFL head coaches are best known for their NFL playing careers, and many of them have limited coaching experience.

Ward spent 14 seasons as a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1998 through 2011, earning four Pro Bowl nods, two Super Bowl rings and one Super Bowl MVP award.

He broke into coaching as an offensive assistant with the New York Jets in 2019 and spent last season as the wide receivers coach at Florida Atlantic University.

Woodson is also a Steelers legend, spending 10 of his 17 NFL seasons as a defensive back in Pittsburgh.

The 57-year-old is a member of the Pro Football and College Football Hall of Fame, and he owns a sparkling resume highlighted by 11 Pro Bowl berths, six first-team All-Pro selections, one NFL Defensive Player of the Year award and one Super Bowl win, the latter of which came as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

Woodson's most recent coaching job was as the cornerbacks coach for the then-Oakland Raiders in 2017.

Terrell Buckley, 50, was an NFL cornerback from 1992 through 2005 with multiple teams, most notably the Miami Dolphins from 1995 to 1999.

He has been an assistant coach at multiple collegiate programs since 2007, including being the cornerbacks coach at Ole Miss in 2020 and 2021.

The 44-year-old Anthony Becht was a first-round pick of the Jets in 2000 and remained in the NFL through the 2011 season.

His first major coaching job came as the tight ends coach for the Alliance of American Football's San Diego Fleet in 2019, and he most recently was the offensive coordinator at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Florida.

Reggie Barlow, 50, was a wide receiver and return specialist for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996 through 2003, winning a Super Bowl with the Bucs.

He has extensive head coaching experience at the NCAA FCS and Division II levels, coaching Alabama State from 2007 to 2014 and Virginia State from 2016 through 2021.

The 2023 XFL season is set to begin in February 2023, and it will represent the third iteration of the league.

The XFL lasted one season in 2001 before folding and didn't make it all the way through the 2020 season after its reboot because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Johnson, Garcia and a group of investors purchased the XFL from WWE Chairman Vince McMahon in 2020 for $15 million.

In hopes of sustaining the XFL over the long term, the league has reached a partnership agreement with the NFL to aid in the development of players.