Real football, real coaches: Meet the USFL's eight inaugural head coaches
The reborn United States Football League is about two months away from kicking off its inaugural season in Birmingham, Alabama.
The games will be held at Protective Stadium, part of the University of Alabama-Birmingham, with a number of additional games also staged at historic Legion Field. The first game will feature the New Jersey Generals against the Birmingham Stallions and will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 16 and will air on FOX.
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The eight teams will be split into two divisions: North and South. Each team will play 10 games, with each team within the division playing each other twice and once with a team from the opposite division. The top two teams will then play in a championship game in Canton, Ohio.
Coach Jeff Fisher, Michigan Panthers
The league announced longtime NFL coach Jeff Fisher will be leading the Michigan Panthers. Fisher spent 22 years as an NFL coach. He led the Tennessee Titans to a Super Bowl XXXIV appearance and also coached the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams for five years.
Coach Larry Fedora, New Orleans Breakers
Veteran college coach Larry Fedora will be in charge of the New Orleans Breakers. Fedora coached in the college ranks for 32 years, 11 of them as a head coach. He was most successful at Southern Miss, leading the Golden Eagles to a 34-19 record from 2008 to 2011. He also spent seven years leading the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Coach Mike Riley, New Jersey Generals
Coal Mike Riley will take over the New Jersey Generals. Riley coached at Nebraska from 2015 to 2017. Nebraska had losing records two of Riley’s three seasons. He was considered a surprise hire when Eichorst brought him in from Oregon State. Known as the "nicest guy in college football," Riley was the antithesis of the coach he replaced, the volatile Bo Pelini. Riley won only 54 percent of his games in two stints totaling 14 years at Oregon State. But he was able to field mostly competitive teams in the Pac-12 with limited resources and had a reputation for developing quarterbacks and pulling the occasional big upset.
Coach Kirby Wilson, Pittsburgh Maulers
Pittsburgh will be coached by Kirby Wilson. He has coaching experience dating back to the 1980s, but this will be his first head coaching job. In 23 years, Wilson has coached the New England Patriots, Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals and Las Vegas Raiders. He won two Super Bowl rings during his time with the Buccaneers and Steelers.
Coach Skip Holtz, Birmingham Stallions
The Stallions will be led by Skip Holtz, who is the son of legendary coach Lou Holtz. Skip Holtz has coached at the college level for decades, most recently serving as the head coach of Louisiana Tech. He also has stints as head coach in South Florida and East Carolina, where he won two Conference USA championships. His career record is 152-121.
Coach Kevin Sumlin, Houston Gamblers
Kevin Sumlin will lead the Houston Gamblers. Sumlin has been a major football figure in Texas. He went 35-17 as head coach of the University of Houston before moving on to Texas A&M where he went 51-26.
Coach Todd Haley, Tampa Bay Bandits
The Tampa Bay Bandits will be under the leadership of Todd Haley. His head coaching resume includes a stint in charge of the Kansas City Chiefs. He's known as an offensive guru who helped propel the Arizona Cardinals to an appearance in Super Bowl XLIII while serving as the offensive coordinator.
Coach Bart Andrus, Philadelphia Stars
The Philadelphia Stars will be coached by Bart Andrus. He’s probably not well known to American football fans but European and Canadian fans are sure to recognize Andrus. He led the Amsterdam Admirals to the World Bowl XIII championship and later spent time as coach of the Toronto Argonauts and Omaha Nighthawks.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.