After months of anticipation the XFL ended their coaching announcement tour in the same state that it kicked off. Today’s press conference took place at TDECU Stadium, the future home of the Houston franchise to announce the last Head Coach/General Manager. We were lucky enough to receive an invite, here is a recap of the event.
Janis Burke, CEO of the Houston Sports Authority kicked everything off by questioning whether she should say Aloha or Howdy. She welcomed everyone to and mentioned that Houston is the countries most diverse city, which in turn makes it a hotbed for sports fans. She ended by welcoming new President of XFL Houston, Brian Michael Cooper to the stage.
Cooper stated that his goals are to build an organization that indispensable to the community. He plans on contributing to Houston’s economy by creating more jobs and hiring the best people within the city. He looks forward to building a fun, accessible and affordable product that is family friendly. He then announced CEO and Commissioner Oliver Luck.
Luck took the stage and gave his usual business updates, noting a few new items that haven’t been discussed yet.
- Spoke on the partnership with Elevate Ticket Sales
- Discussed the XFL’s broadcast partners and schedule (ABC/ESPN and FOX/FS1)
- The Summer Showcase is the XFL’s their twist on NFL combine
- An event will take place in all eight markets
- Coaches and scouts will be on site
- Former NFL players, top free agents are invited
- College players will not lose college eligibility for attending
Luck then turned his attention to the man of the hour, the new Head Coach/GM of XFL Houston.
- Coaching career spans over three decades
- Played QB for five years on the Atlanta Falcons (NFL) and the Toronto Argonaughts (CFL)
- Joined Falcons as an un-drafted free agent out of Portland State University
- Led the nation in passing and total offence for PSU
- Coaching career includes two stops in Houston as assistant
- WR Coach for the Houston Gamblers (USFL)
- QB Coach for the Houston Oilers (NFL)
- Head Coach for Southern Methodist, University of Hawaii, San Diego Chargers, Atlanta Falcons and most recently the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats
He then officially named June Jones as Head Coach/General Manager and brought him out to the stage.
Jones came out donning a Lei and a Hawaii’n shirt. They XFL was handing out lei’s prior to the event and I believe there was only one other person beside myself that accepted it upon entrance. He is very happy to be back in the city of Houston and complimented the facility on the upgrades they’ve made since he was last in town.
He then took the time to thank two of his friends which were Navy Seals, stating the Memorial Day is around the corner so he wanted to publicly show his appreciation.
Jones said that this new XFL reminds him of the USFL, and as he started speaking with Oliver Luck he’s really excited to find the new players and build the team as he did in the past.
He also spoke about talking to both Gilbride and Trestman prior to signing with the league. Also saying that he is really close both of them and became really good friends with Trestman during his time in the XFL.
When asked why he would jump from the XFL to the XFL, he said that it was a hard decision for him to make. He loved his time in Canada due to the play style, and he thinks they’ll have similar game play in the new XFL.
He said he’s coached a lot of different places, but it’s special to be back where he started in Houston. Jones said that when he watched ESPN’s 30 for 30 on the original XFL, he knew when he saw Vince McMahon speak at the end that the league would be coming back and that Vince would make it work this time around.
He was asked if he would take the same run and shoot approach to offense in his new role. He responded by saying that he had the awesome chance to spend time with Bill Walsh in Hawaii and he helped him tweak his style. He also spoke about his tempo and how he likes to keep everything upbeat.
He ended the event by thanking McMahon, the XFL and everyone in attendance. You can view pictures from the event and watch the full press conference below.
Official Press Release from the XFL
JUNE JONES NAMED XFL HEAD COACH IN HOUSTON
Houston, Texas, May 20, 2019 – The XFL today announced that June Jones, a former coach for the NFL’s Houston Oilers and USFL’s Houston Gamblers, and a former head coach in the NFL, CFL and at the major college level, has been named head coach and general manager of the XFL team in Houston.
The Houston team will play at TDECU Stadium when the league kicks off in February 2020. Brian Michael Cooper, who previously served as Senior Associate A.D. at Rice University and President of the NBA G-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers, was named President of the XFL football team in Houston last week.
“We’re extremely proud to add Coach Jones, a man with four decades in football, as an XFL head coach,” said XFL Commissioner & CEO, Oliver Luck. “June has coached the game in three different pro leagues, including the NFL, as well as major college and high school football. The experience he’s gained at every stop along the way will no doubt serve him well as he helps us reimagine the game and build our Houston team into something special.”
“I’ve spent a few years coaching in Houston, and having a chance to return to be a head coach in the XFL is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” said Jones. “I had a really great time coaching in the CFL, but this new fresh opportunity to build a team from the ground up is extremely rare in this game, and I’m looking forward to working with Brian Cooper and our coaches to give football fans in Houston a team that’s truly exciting to watch and worthy of their support.”
“June Jones is one of the most accomplished and well-known football coaches, and it will be an honor to work side-by-side with him,” said Cooper. “I have no doubt that his love of the game and commitment to excellence on-field will dovetail perfectly with our effort to engage Houston sports fans in new and exciting ways.”
Jones joins Kevin Gilbride (New York), Pep Hamilton (Washington, D.C.), Jonathan Hayes (St. Louis), Winston Moss (Los Angeles), Bob Stoops (Dallas), Marc Trestman (Tampa Bay) and Jim Zorn (Seattle) as the XFL’s head coaches when the league kicks-off in February 2020.
Jones comes to the XFL after two seasons with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Hired as the team’s assistant head coach in 2017, he was elevated to interim head coach after an 0-8 start that year. The Tiger-Cats went 6-4 under Jones, and he was appointed head coach for 2018, and took the team to the second round of the playoffs. In December, he stepped down to become associate head coach and offensive coordinator, clearing the way for the promotion of his successor.
Jones is entering his 35th season as a football coach at the high school, college and professional levels. In addition to the Tiger-Cats, he has held head coaching positions at Southern Methodist University (2008-14), the University of Hawaii (1999-2007), and with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers (Interim – 1998) and Falcons (1994-96). While leading SMU, Jones was named Conference USA Coach of the Year by The Sporting News in 2009, and Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1999, 2006 and 2007 while the head coach at Hawaii. In his first season as head coach of the Rainbow Warriors, he led the team to a 9-4 record and a share of the WAC championship. Having finished the prior season 0-12, it was the most significant single-season turnaround in NCAA football history.
After three seasons as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator (1991-93), Jones was named head coach in 1994. Despite taking over one of the NFL’s worst teams, and having no first or second-round draft picks in his first two years, the Falcons made the playoffs.
In addition to his three seasons as an NFL assistant coach in Atlanta, Jones served as Detroit Lions’ quarterbacks and wide receivers coach (1989-90) and Houston Oilers’ quarterbacks coach (1987-88). During his 13 years as a coach at the professional level, he worked with Hall of Fame quarterbacks Brett Favre (1991), Warren Moon (1987-88) and Jim Kelly (1984).
Jones began his coaching career in 1983 as quarterbacks coach at Hawaii. After a season, he moved to the United States Football League as wide receivers coach of the Houston Gamblers (1984) and offensive coordinator of the Denver Gold (1985). In 1986, Jones was a co-offensive coordinator of the CFL’s Ottawa Rough Riders, joining the team after the USFL folded.
Before coaching, Jones played quarterback for the Falcons for five years (1977-81) and the Argonauts for one season (1982). A Portland, Oregon native, he signed with the Falcons as a free agent out of Portland State University after earning All-America honors, leading the nation in passing and total offense.