As the NFL season comes to a close, the UFL gets ready to kick off training camp on February 24th with 8 franchises set to head to Arlington, Texas in hopes of cementing themselves as champions of the newly merged league.

With the new league the USFL and XFL merged taking the total of 16 teams between the separate entities to now 8, not only condensing talent for players but also coaching staffs as well. Below we give fans the first taste of friendly debate in the 2024 season by unveiling UFL News Hub’s first set of Coaching rankings for the upcoming season.

8. Mike Nolan Michigan Panthers USFL Record 4-7 Overall 22-44

Nolan joined the Michigan Panthers after coaching with the Dallas Cowboys as their Defensive Coordinator in 2020. Nolan who is known for his accomplishments as a Defensive minded coach, joined the USFL for his second shot as a Head Coach leading Michigan to the playoffs in 2023, after a QB change from Josh Love to E.J. Perry. Despite Five seasons as a Head Coach Nolan has yet to have a season over .500 taking his 22-44 record to last place on our list.

7. Curtis Johnson Houston Roughnecks USFL Record 5-5 Overall 20-39

Johnson gets nod over Nolan for his 7-6 2013 season with Tulane and the improvement the Gamblers made in 2023 winning Two more games than the 2022 team. Despite losing to Mike Nolan’s Michigan Panthers during the USFL’s opening kickoff Johnson was able to lead the Gamblers (now Roughnecks) against a loaded South Division that plays Four Games against the Breakers and Stallions consistently. With a new QB in Reid Sinnett along with some other pieces Johnson could rise on this list becoming a key stabilizing piece in the new UFL.

6. Anthony Becht St. Louis Battlehawks XFL Record 7-3 Overall 7-3

While my initial gut feeling was to put Coach Becht at #4 or #5 them missing last years playoffs is what has me ranking Becht a bit lower. While Becht is maybe one of the leagues beloved coaches, the team did fall a bit short on the tiebreaker for 2023. However, in a new league and a new season Coach Becht is primed to lead the Battlehawks to a playoff spot and ultimately shoot up the UFL coaching rankings by the end of the season.

5. John DeFilippo Memphis Showboats USFL Record 7-4 Overall 7-4

Coach Flip replaces Todd Haley in 2024 coming over from the Breakers to now become the Captain of the Showboats. DeFilippo who at one point was in the conversation for NFL coaching jobs, joined the USFL in 2023 leading the Breakers to an improved 7-3 record along with a playoff berth. Like coach Becht with another year of experience under his belt Coach Flip should be able to right the ship in Memphis giving the franchise their first playoff berth since 1985

4. Wade Phillips San Antonio Brahmas XFL Record 7-4 Overall 90-73

The “Son of Bum” does a wardrobe change in 2024, going from the Roughnecks to the Brahmas replacing Hines Ward. While Coach Phillips did manage to lead the Roughnecks to a playoff berth in 2023, he takes over a Brahmas squad that was 3-7 under Ward missing the playoffs. Phillips who is a Super Bowl champion and brings almost 13 years of Coaching experience could be in line to bring San Antonio to the playoffs with many of the Roughnecks coaches joining him this upcoming season.

3. Reggie Barlow D.C. Defenders XFL Record 10-2 Overall 93-60

Coach Barlow has won wherever he’s been in his Head Coaching career. After winning Four conference championships, including the “Black National Championship” in 2011, and 2017 Barlow took advantage of his first opportunity in the “pros” leading D.C. to a conference championship ultimately losing in the 2023 XFL title game. Barlow returns to D.C. with an improved Defense, his Coordinators Fred Kaiss, and Gregg Williams and most importantly his QB spring league staple Jordan Ta’amu.

2. Bob Stoops Arlington Renegades XFL Record 8-9 Overall 199-57

Stoops cam back for the “Third season” of the XFL after going 2-3 with his college QB Landry Jones in 2020. Despite having Five different QBs take snaps for the Renegades in 2023, Stoops along with Luis Perez led the Renegades to the XFL promise land winning the championship despite a 4-6 regular season record. While Arlington may not be the most dominating team in 2024 you can never count out a Head Coach who has 199 wins on his resume.

1. Skip Holtz Birmingham Stallions USFL Record 21-3 Overall 173-124

Two USFL Championships, Four collegiate conference championships, and 173 wins gives Skip Holtz the top spot on our preseason coaches rankings. Holtz along with GM Zach Potter has turned the Stallions into a consistent powerhouse and has done nothing but win since joining the spring football coaching ranks in 2022. While the road may not be as easy in 2024, Holtz’s Stallions should remain the USFL’s conference top team in 2024.

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Patrick Rifino

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