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4 former NY Jets are among XFL reboot’s new head coaches

Anthony Becht, NY Jets, XFL, Head Coach
Anthony Becht, New York Jets, XFL, Getty Images

New York Jets alumni pepper the new list of XFL bosses

The latest attempt at XFL football has taken on a surprisingly metropolitan aura.

Half of the eight head coaches chosen to lead the third iteration have connections to the New York Jets, the subcategory headlined by Anthony Becht, a former tight end and one of the team’s four first-round picks from the 2000 draft class. Two-year offensive assistant and Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward is also on the list, as are brief on-field representatives Terrell Buckley and Jim Haslett.

The new league’s coaches were revealed by its new owners, Dany Garcia and Dwayne Johnson, on Wednesday morning’s edition of ESPN’s “Get Up!”. This past week has been eventful for Garcia and Johnson’s latest collaboration, which also unveiled a revamped logo and an exclusive partnership with NFL Alumni Academy which will enhance scouting and training efforts.

Becht spent five seasons with the Jets after his name was called in the 27th slot of the 2000 NFL draft, earning 1,164 yards on 133 receptions, 17 of which went for scores. The West Virginia alum is perhaps best known for earning game-winning touchdown in consecutive weeks in the late stages of the Jets’ playoff push in 2001. Becht would spend six more NFL seasons between Tampa Bay, Arizona, St. Louis, and Kansas City.

Since his final NFL snaps, Becht has served as an analyst for ESPN’s college football coverage and Westwood One’s Sunday Night Football endeavors. He also has previous coaching experience in the short-lived Alliance of American Football, where he served as the tight ends coach for the San Diego Fleet, whose staff also featured former Jets teammate LaMont Jordan.

Ward’s coaching career is set to continue in the new XFL after it began with the Jets in 2019. The long-tenured Pittsburgh receiver worked under receivers coach Shawn Jefferson and notably received a celebratory Gatorade bucket shower after Gang Green topped his former Steeler employers.

After most of the Jets’ staff was purged after the firing of Adam Gase at the end of the 2020 season, Ward caught on with Florida Atlantic University, where he served as the receivers’ coach last season.

The list of green representatives is rounded out by Buckley and Haslett, who each spent a season with the Jets.

Buckley, the fifth pick of the 1992 draft, earned 10 tackles and three interceptions in New York during his penultimate NFL season in 2004 and has spent the last two years as Mississippi’s cornerbacks coach.

Haslett, best known for his time as the New Orleans Saints’ boss, appeared in three games with the Jets during the 1987 campaign.

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Other coaches revealed during Garcia and Johnson’s appearance on the Worldwide Leader included Reggie Barlow, Wade Phillips, Bob Stoops, and Rod Woodson. Stoops, the longtime head coach at Oklahoma University, is the lone head coach retained from the 2020 edition of the XFL, formerly working with the Dallas Renegades.

The third edition of the XFL is set to premiere in February 2023. East Rutherford has hosted a team in each of the prior incarnations, first welcoming the New York/New Jersey Hitmen during the original version in 2001 at Giants Stadium (one fueled by WWE-inspired gimmicks and kayfabe) before the New York Guardians played at MetLife Stadium 19 years later.

The original XFL shut down after its inaugural season due to low television ratings and negative reviews while the latter’s opening year only made it to the midway mark thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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