The Seattle XFL franchise is still awaiting its name, team colors and even its first player, but that hasn’t stopped coach and general manager Jim Zorn from assembling his 10-man coaching staff, led by offensive coordinator Mike Riley and defensive coordinator Clayton Lopez.
Zorn introduced the pair, along with running backs coach Butch Goncharoff, at a reception Thursday night.
Riley, of course, likely needs no introduction to local football fans. He was head coach at Oregon State (1997-98 and 2003-14), the San Diego Chargers (1999-2001) and at Nebraska (2005-17).
Most recently, he was coaching the San Antonio Commanders of the Alliance of American Football, and had led that team to a 5-3 record before the league abruptly folded in April.
“Well, I was available all of a sudden,” Riley joked when asked Thursday why he took this new job. “Jim called me and we had been talking about some other coaches that I had recommended, and he said, ‘What about you?’ And that’s how it got started.
“I am having so much fun coaching and I am thankful to be doing it,” said Riley, 65. “My wife loved the idea of Seattle, and here we are.”
Lopez, a longtime assistant in the NFL for several franchises, worked with the Seahawks from 1999-2003, overlapping with Zorn, who was the Seahawks’ quarterback coach from 2001-07.
Goncharoff, the former Bellevue High School football coach, is now the coach at Cedar Park Christian in Bothell. He will retain that job as the two seasons do not overlap.
* Among the players who are scheduled to participate in the XFL Summer Showcase at Memorial Stadium on Saturday are three former Husky stars: QB Keith Price, RB Bishop Sankey and DT Alameda Ta’amu. Among the former Cougars is LB Peyton Pelluer, who finished his collegiate career last year.
* The Seattle team’s name and colors are expected to be announced sometime in July.
* The eight-team league will begin play the weekend of Feb 8-9, 2020. The teams will not play any exhibition games. The rosters will be 52, with 45 active for games.