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USFL’s New Jersey Generals announce first head coach

Mike Riley, New Jersey Generals, Nebraska
Mike Riley, New Jersey Generals, Getty Images

Rebooted USFL teams announce head coaches

The rebooted United States Football League introduced the first batch of its teams’ new head coaches on Thursday’s episode of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd”.

Tenured head coach Mike Riley has been called upon to represent the New Jersey Generals, one of the league’s reincarnated squads from the original 1983-85 edition.

In a New York Jets connection to the new league, former offensive coach and scout Todd Haley was likewise named the Tampa Bay Bandits’ new boss.

Riley, 68, most recently partook in another rebooted spring league, as he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the XFL’s Seattle Dragons. His USFL head coaching endeavors follow previous stints as an overseer at the NFL, CFL, and major collegiate levels.

The Wallace, Idaho native is perhaps best known for his 14 years spent at Oregon State (1997-98, 2003-14), where he remains the all-time winningest coach in program history (93). He guided the Beavers to the second 10-win season in program history in 2006, a year that ended with a Sun Bowl victory over Missouri.

Riley also won the Pac-10’s Coach of the Year award in 2008, when the Beavers finished 9-4, won another Sun Bowl, and finished 18th in the final Associated Press poll.

In between his tenures in Corvallis, Riley spent three years as the head coach of the San Diego Chargers (1999-2001) where he posted a 14-34 record. Professional success didn’t elude him up north, as Riley guided the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to two Grey Cup hoists in 1988 and 1990.

For his efforts, Riley was awarded the Annis Stukus Trophy bestowed to the CFL’s top head coach. Winnipeg was Riley’s head coach stop after over a decade as an assistant on the CFL and American college circuits.

Riley was also the head coach for the World League of American Football’s San Antonio Riders (1991-92), the Nebraska Cornhuskers (2015-17), and the Alliance of American Football’s San Antonio Commanders (2019).

Haley, meanwhile, will serve as the head coach of the resurrected Tampa Bay Bandits, having previously headed the Kansas City Chiefs for three seasons (2009-11). His first professional coaching job came with the Jets, as he began as a scouting assistant (1995-96) before serving four years as the team’s receivers’ coach (1997-2000).

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Haley’s most recent professional coaching experience came through a brief eight-game stint as the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator in 2018.

Elsewhere, well-traveled college boss Kevin Sumlin will coach the Houston Gamblers while Bart Andrus, a head coach in the developmental Spring League will lead the Philadelphia Stars.

This rebooted version of the USFL is expected to kick off in April, with the entirety of its first season set to be played in Birmingham-based stadiums. The eight-team, ten-game season will be broadcast on the networks of Fox (Fox, FS1) and NBC Sports (NBC, USA, Peacock).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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