This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
The USFL on Thursday announced the hiring of its first four head coaches – Todd Haley, Kevin Sumlin, Mike Riley and Bart Andrus – with the game scheduled to launch this spring.
The league will have eight teams, with 10 games in the regular season running from April 16 to mid-June, it said.
“Today is a monumental day for the new USFL as we reach the 100 days to start,” USFL President Brian Woods said in a statement. “To attract Mike Riley and Todd Haley, two former NFL head coaches, Bart Andrus, a former head coach of the NFL Europe and CFL, plus an experienced college head coach of Kevin Sumlin, speak to the USFL about the quality of the league, we build.
“They all share our belief in high quality spring football and we are honored to have them lead their respective teams this year. We can’t wait to get on the pitch!”
Haley, a former NFL head coach at the Kansas City Chiefs, will coach the Tampa Bay Bandits. He went 19-26 with the Chiefs from 2009 to 2011. Since then, he has served as offensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, where he was fired in 2018.
Sumlin returns to Houston to coach the USFL’s Gamblers. The former University of Houston coach also had stops at Texas A&M and Arizona.
Riley, the former head coach of the Chargers from 1999 to 2001, has been hired by the New Jersey Generals. Riley has had coaching stops in Oregon State and Nebraska in addition to professional jobs at AAF and XFL.
Andrus, who coached in the CFL (Toronto), UFL (Omaha) and NFL Europe (Amsterdam), will lead the Philadelphia Stars.
The league said the remaining four head coaches – for the Michigan Panthers, Pittsburgh Maulers, Birmingham Stallions and New Orleans Breakers – would be announced at a later date.
The USFL was launched in 1983, but crumbled after three seasons due to out of control expenses and poorly thought out pressure led by Donald Trump, then owner of the Generals, to compete directly against the NFL with an fall season.
In the end, the USFL’s most enduring legacy was the $ 3 verdict it “won” in an antitrust case against the NFL, a verdict that ended the league in 1986 before implementing the Trump-backed move from spring to fall.
The league begins April 16 with Fox Sports, which has a minority stake in the company that owns the new USFL, and NBC acts as the league’s official broadcast partners.
A player selection meeting will be held on 22-23. February, and the training camps open on March 21st. Each team will have a 38-player roster and a training team of seven members.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.