The Birmingham Stallions have had multiple coaches leave, with new faces, and old friends returning for the 2024 season to chase a third straight championship for the Stallions. Two XFL coaches return after leaving following the 2022 season, and the Stallions lured a long-time NFL coach over after learning they would lose former Generals OC Steve Smith, who had been hired to serve as the Stallions 2024 offensive line coach, to the college level where he reunited with Cris Dishman. Despite the turnover, the staff they have assembled might be one of, if not the best staffs in the newly formed UFL.

Starting at the Top

Skip Holtz returns for season three at the helm of the Birmingham Stallions. Overseeing back-to-back championships in 2022 and 2023 should not have been a huge surprise given Holtz’s resume at the college level. Having coached for 36 years total, Holtz has participated in 21 bowl games during his time at the collegiate level, and has made it to the Championship game twice in two seasons in the USFL. Fourteen of his 23 bowl game trips have come as a Head Coach including seven straight bowl games from 2014 to 2020, six of which ended with victory.

Holtz has been a Head Coach for four different college programs, and one professional program. During his career he has compiled an impressive 169-124 record a 71.5% win rate over his career. He has never left a single program without having a winning record in at least one season, and only compiled a losing record overall at one stop, with South Florida where he only spent three seasons and managed a 16-21 record after logging an 8-5 record in his first season with the team.

Holtz is a former quarterback who once moved to wide receiver so it’s only natural to see him begin his coaching career overseeing wide receivers in 1989 with Colorado State University. He would stay on the offensive side of the ball his entire career. In his sixth year coaching he was hired as an Offensive Coordinator for the first time under his father Lou at his alma mater Notre Dame. The story about how he was hired as the offensive coordinator is too interesting not to include in this breakdown.

The story goes that Lou Holtz initially wanted to hire Joe Moore but Moore declined. After this Lou came to his son asking for recommendations for the position. Skip voiced his desire for the job, but at first his father was reluctant to hire his son due to the optics of the situation. Skip recommended FSU offensive coordinator Mark Richt, and Lou promptly followed up by asking permission to interview Richt, and was met with the question “If you hire Richt, can I hire Skip?” and Lou came to the realization that he may as well hire his son for the position or stand to lose two coaches in one hiring cycle.

From then on the legend of the younger Holtz began to grow. During his first season as the offensive coordinator Skip immediately made waves when Notre Dame produced the third-best total offense for the season. That would be the final year of future first round pick Rick Mirer at Notre Dame. Kevin McDougal took over in 1993 and did his best to win a championship as the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish. After two impressive seasons, Holtz was offered the head coaching job at Connecticut. This started a run of head coaching positions for Holtz. Outside of a stint with South Carolina from 1999-2004 Holtz would spend the rest of his career as head coach. While at South Carolina he served as the Assistant Head Coach, and Offensive Coordinator from 99-03, and added quarterbacks coach to his duties in 2004 once again serving under his father.

During his first season in 1999 they would go 0-11 in a tough year that saw his offense finish having scored just 87 points, or just over 7 points per game. They would watch as four different quarterbacks attempted at least 25 passes on the season yet collectively produce just 4 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. If you ever wanted evidence of the greatness that comes with the coaching the Holtz’s provide it was the 2000 season when the Gamecocks went from 0-11 to 8-4 in just one season’s time. This was however in spite of his quarterback play that managed just 8 touchdowns total this time around.

The offense was carried by Derek Watson who rushed for over 1,000 yards and outscored the passing game by himself with 12 total touchdowns while serving as the primary running back, and kick returner. In 2001 they would again improve this time to 9-3. Their quarterback Phil Petty had one of his best seasons to date but still was only mildly passable at quarterback. Quarterback issues would mar his entire stay with the Gamecocks before East Carolina offered him their head coaching position. For the next 17 seasons he would hold head coaching positions at the collegiate level before being fired after the 2021 season just in time for him to land on his feet with the USFL, and the Stallions where he has put on a coaching and team building master class.

Zach Potter

Following the 2022 season Holtz saw the need to delegate some of the duties he was overseeing at the time. Serving as the Head Coach, General Manager, Offensive Coordinator, and Quarterbacks Coach was a lot for any one person. In 2023 Zach Potter officially stepped into the General Manager role. Prior to the official title, Potter was already serving as Holtz’s right hand man in the personnel department as his Director of Player Personnel for the 2022 season. This came after three years serving as the Video Assistant for the Nebraska Football program.

Potter has quickly grown a reputation for being bold in his pursuit of former NFL players, he has done such a good job that at times critics will point to him as the best personnel executive in the USFL. I would argue his resume speaks for itself. Given that Potter is incredibly young and still has a long future in the sport, it would not be the least bit surprising to see Potter in the NFL as a General Manager, or Director of Player Personnel at some point in the near future.



The Stallions offense could look different in 2024 thanks to the addition of former Tulsa Head Coach Phillip Montgomery. Headed into his 30th year coaching he jumps into the professional ranks for the first time. Montgomery might be a first time professional offensive coordinator, but he has been calling plays or coaching an offensive position since his second year in coaching, back in 1995.

His most notable stretches in his career as an offensive coordinator came with Houston in 07, Baylor from 08-14, and most recently with Auburn in 2023. Looking back his offenses have been a mixed bag at times. Part of the reason he was even available to join Birmingham were his struggles with Auburn. Despite being a longtime QB Coach it seemed that he and quarterback Payton Throne weren’t on the same page. Auburn finished 10th in total offense, and 11th in yards per play. Some of this sounds a bit worse than it is given his offense produced 351 yards and 26 points per game. However it’s a far cry from the dominant offense he crafted with Baylor. 

Offenses with Houston and Baylor 

As a co-offensive coordinator for one year with Houston, Montgomery helped lead his QB room to a collective 23 touchdowns and 14 interceptions with Case Keenum leading the way. Also overseeing running back Anthony Aldridge who had a dominant season rushing for over 1,500 yards. As a whole the offense ran for over 223 yards per game. 

In 2008 he would move on to Baylor in a lateral move to be their Co-Offensive Coordinator while overseeing QB’s and RB’s. He would oversee the development of future first round pick Robert Griffin III for all four years of his career at Baylor. By the time he graduated he had amassed over 12,500 yards 111 touchdowns with just 17 interceptions. After RGIII left school in 2011, Montgomery took sole possession of the Offensive Coordinator position, and he turned former backup Nick Florence into a starting caliber QB. Florence would top 4,000 yards passing and throw 33 touchdowns on the year then graduate following 2012.

In 2013 he would turn another former back-up into an NFL Draft pick in Bryce Petty. After three seasons as the offensive coordinator after RGIII left it appeared he could craft an offense to produce a 4,000 yard season and 30 touchdowns with just about any player if they knew the offense well. This helped him earn his first Head Coaching position with Tulsa where he helped develop yet another 4,000 yard passer who later wound up at the professional ranks in Dane Evans. (Congratulations to Coach Evans on his retirement and entrance into coaching).

After Evans left he would struggle to find success with multiple different quarterbacks including future USFL player Zach Smith. Following the 2022 season he was let go by Tulsa and landed as the offensive coordinator with Auburn. He lasted just one season with Auburn and was fired after a season when his offense produced 351.2 yards and 26.2 points per game. Ultimately I believe we might see more of a dedication to the passing game, and a few more wrinkles in the offense, but we won’t be seeing the jumbo packages, and variations of the wishbone formation going away anytime soon as long as Skip Holtz still has a hand in this offense.


John Chavis returns for his third season overseeing linebackers and calling defensive plays. So far in three seasons he has helped develop a defense that has done just enough in 21 of 24 games over the past two seasons. Chavis has three decades of experience calling defenses at the collegiate level. He has another 10 seasons as a position coach. Being able to call on forty years on coaching experience before he ever stepped foot on a USFL field was invaluable for the coach who has now overseen two championship winning performances by his unit.

Chavis in 2024 will have more talent than ever before in his linebacker unit with multiple All-USFL players at the position group. Chavis can

Special Teams

Chris Boniol is the special teams coordinator who came over for the 2023 season after spending four years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their Specialists Coach. Boniol is a former NFL Kicker who also attended Louisiana Tech University in the early 90’s. By 1994 he was in the NFL for the first time with the Dallas Cowboys. Ultimately his career lasted 6 seasons, playing with the Cowboys for 3, Eagles for 2, and splitting time with the Browns and Bears for his final season. He would retire from playing having played in 90 games hitting 128 of 163 field goal attempts, 183 of 189 extra point attempts, and 371 kick off attempts.

His start in coaching came in 2010 with the team his playing career also began with, the Dallas Cowboys. Serving as the Assistant Special Teams Coordinator from 2010-2013. He was credited with helping lure Dan Bailey to the Cowboys at the time. Bailey went on to play seven seasons for the Cowboys nailing over 84% of his field goal attempts for 6 of those seasons.

Boniol helped get both his kicker, and punter on NFL rosters. Brandon Aubrey is now the kicker for the Dallas Cowboys, and looks to be the man going forward after an impressive season. Colby Wadman was also signed, but didn’t make the Commanders final roster and returned to the Stallions. He will be moving forward with a veteran kicker in Chris Blewitt who came over from the Pittsburgh Maulers. Blewitt is just two seasons removed from the NFL.

Two Coaches Who Left for the XFL Return

After a Championship season in 2022, two coaches decided to leave for the XFL in 2023. Corey Chamblin, and Bill Johnson. Now both coaches have returned for the 2024 season.

Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson has been coaching defensive line nearly a decade longer than most of his players have been alive at this point. His first fortay into coaching defensive line came in 1982 with Northwestern State University. He would stick with coaching defensive line for 40 of 45 seasons in coaching. He too has ties to Louisiana Tech from early in his career when he oversaw defensive line for two seasons in the 80’s. In 2001 he was hired by the NFL for the first time but would spend the next 18 seasons at the NFL level with the Falcons, Saints, Broncos, and Rams.

In 2019 he would return to the college level with LSU where he would stick for three seasons until 2022 when he would join the Stallions as their defensive line coach. Johnson is about as experienced as defensive line coaches come, and that experience is crucial to bringing in high level players, helping them correct issues in their game and getting them back to the NFL level. We have seen multiple players from the Stallions and Roughnecks signed to the NFL after a year of guidance from Johnson including: Doug Costin, C.J. Brewer, Jack Heflin, and Chuck Wiley just over the last two seasons alone. During his last stint in college, with LSU he helped Rashard Lawrence, Tyler Shelvin, Neil Farrell Jr. and Jaquelin Roy find their way onto NFL rosters via the NFL draft.

Corey Chamblin

Chamblin is an alternative football league veteran who just so happens to be a Birmingham native. His first taste with developmental leagues came during his playing career in 2004 when he played with the Rhein Fire to try and revive his NFL career shortly before he retired from football. Just two years later he began his coaching career with the Frankfurt Galaxy of the NFLEL. Chamblin would continue to climb the ladder in alternative football leagues with a leap to the CFL in 2007 his second season as a coach.

From 2007 to 2012 Chamblin went from defensive backs coach to defensive coordinator, and then head coach. In just his 7th season as a coach he was hired by the Saskatchewan Roughriders as their head coach for the 2012 season. He would stick in this role for four seasons producing a 29-34 record but appeared in the playoffs three times, including during his second season in which he led the Roughriders to a Grey Cup victory. After an 0-9 start to the 2015 season he was fired, and sat out of football for the 2016 season.

In 2017 he returned to the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts as their Defensive Coordinator, Defensive Backs Coach, and Assistant Head Coach. This lasted just one season, but he made enough of an impression to be brought back as the head coach in 2019 after a one-year stint with the Arkansas football team as a defensive backs coach, and overseeing quality control. After his one season stint as the Toronto Head Coach he would be out of coaching for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, although most leagues had shut down for 2020 anyway. In 2022 Chamblin returned to football as the defensive backs coach under Skip Holtz winning his first USFL Championship, which was his fourth as a coach, including 3 Grey Cup victories. 

Chamblin would help Tay Hayes, and Brian Allen sign with NFL rosters after the 2022 season, and Luq Barcoo in the 2023 season during his stint with the San Antonio Brahmas. Chamblin’s XFL team remained after the merger, but the Head Coach that hired him was no longer in place, and he opted to return to the Stallions for 2024.

The 2022 O.G. on the Staff

The staff is headlined by two names that have returned every year of the Stallions’ existence so far. Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach John Chavis, and wide receivers coach Mike Jones. Both of these men have turned into trusted confidants of Coach Holtz during this time and have cemented themselves as valuable members of the Stallions staff going forward.

Mike Jones

WHO!? MIKE JONES!! That’s right Mike Jones returns as the wide receivers coach for the Stallions. Heading into year three in the position, the former NFL wideout has made a mark in the USFL since joining the league in 2022. A one-time 6th round pick in the 1983 NFL Draft, he lasted 7 seasons in the NFL before walking away from the game after the 1989 season. It wasn’t until a decade later he decided to join the coaching ranks and got his start in NFLEL. Ironically Jones would have two stints with the Rhein Fire from 1998-2000, and from 2002-2003. He just missed working with Chamblin in 2004 when he was hired as the Head Coach of the Frankfurt Galaxy. He held this position for four seasons, and ultimately give Chamblin his start as a defensive backs coach in 2006, his second to last year with the Galaxy.

During his nine years with the Fire, and Galaxy they appeared in the World Bowl seven times, and won three. During his one year hiatus from the NFLEL he served as the wide receivers coach for the XFL’s Orlando Rage in 2001 before returning in 2002. After the 2007 season the NFL closed the doors on its dedicated developmental league and left the coaches searching for ways to continue their careers (not unlike the UFL merger in 2024 that put 8 staffs out of work). In 2007 another league was supposed to fill the hole left by NFLEL called the All American Football League that named Jones the Head Coach of Team Alabama where they were slated to play games at Legion Field, ironically the same stadium he would call home for his first season in the USFL.

After a brief stint outside of football he would try his hand in the CFL for the first time as the wide receivers coach for the Toronto Argonauts in 2009. This lasted just one season, as in 2010 he was offered an offensive coordinator position with Tennessee State University, a position he went on to hold for five seasons from 2010-2014. During the 2014, and 2015 NFL Drafts he watched as four offensive linemen he coached were selected in the 5th and 7th rounds.

Following the 2014 season he was let go and left to coach High School football for the first time. This lasted just one season before he was hired by East Central Community College. He would oversee the running backs and tight ends for one season before taking over as offensive coordinator the following season. After these two seasons with ECCC he was let go and did not take another position until 2022 when the Stallions came calling. Since joining the Stallions he has had tremendous success both bringing in and sending players up to the NFL. Osiris Mitchell, and Victor Bolden Jr., and Sage Surratt, all inked NFL contracts after the 2022 season. Following the 2023 season, it was another trio of players, this time Deon Cain, Davion Davis, and Austin Watkins all would sign NFL contracts. Both Davis, and Watkins are still on NFL rosters at the time of writing.

Returning for 2023

Daric Riley

Daric Riley will serve as the assistant defensive backs coach under Corey Chamblin. Riley first came to the Birmingham area in 2014 with UAB as the special teams coach, and returned to the school in 2020. He first served as Director of Player Relations before being promoted to Cornerbacks Coach for the 2022 season. While for some reason, Riley hasn’t had success climbing the coaching ranks, he has been coaching in some capacity since 1999. Perhaps his time with the Stallions can serve as the stepping stone he needs to find upward momentum.

New Faces

David DeGuglielmo

David DeGuglielmo is best known for spending many years developing offensive linemen at the NFL level, but his career didn’t begin in the NFL. Rather he got his start at the college level where he would spend two years as a graduate assistant with Boston College before moving on to his alma mater Boston University as the Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach. This would begin a 32 year run of coaching offensive line.

He would work with Skip Holtz for the first time at Connecticut as the offensive line coach for the final two seasons of Holtz’s time with the team. He would follow Holtz to South Carolina where he again served as the offensive line coach. After spending seven seasons serving under Holtz, he would be hired by an NFL team for the first time. Joining the New York Giants for the 2004 season. His connections to coaches have proved valuable over his career as his first NFL job came thanks to Tom Coughlin, the same coach that gave him his start over a decade earlier.

In his final season with the Giants they would defeat the Patriots in the Super Bowl for his first ever Championship victory. He would earn another later coaching for the Patriots.

In 2009 his connections again proved fruitful as he would reunite with a former offensive line coach he played for at Boston University, Tony Sparano who had been hired as the Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins. This was the first of three stints with Miami, and the beginning of his tour of the AFC East. In 2012 he coached the Jets, from 2014-2015 he was with the Patriots. From 2016-2022 he would spend one year stints with the Chargers, Dolphins (2017, 2019)Colts, Giants, Louisiana Tech, and Boston College.

Despite coaching for 6 different teams in 7 seasons he coached in a new location just three times during that stretch returning to the Dolphins, Giants, and Boston College for a second/third stint. In 2024 he rejoins Skip Holtz for a fourth time after working with him in 2021 with Louisiana Tech. In total this will be their 9th season working together, but judging by his recent track record, he may not stick around for a tenth in 2025.

During his time in the NFL he helped 4 players collect 6 pro-bowl trips. He was instrumental in the development of Jake Long in Miami, and Quenton Nelson who he coached to a pro-bowl and First Team All-Pro vote as a rookie in 2018. Long would four pro-bowls, only one of which came without DeGuglielmo. Under his tutelage Long also was named Second Team All-Pro in 2009, and First Team All-Pro in 2010. Now DeGuglielmo will work with the Stallions unit that saw an influx in talent for the 2024 season.

Final Thoughts

The Stallions have one of the most experienced coaching staffs in the league in 2024, and each of their individual coaches have had tremendous success with the position that they hold in 2024. Although this staff has seen its fair share of turnover since 2022, the consistency has been in the positions that matter. Skip Holtz, despite the rumors he was pursued for college positions, has stuck with the Stallions for three years, and with that has maintained a level of continuity at Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks Coach, as well as in the front office. Keeping Mike Jones at wide receivers coach, and John Chavis at Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers coach, the Stallions have had the same offensive and defensive coordinators all three seasons now, even though 2024 will see some more input added on offense.

Bringing back Chamblin, and Johnson were big moves that makes it almost as if nothing changed at all due to their familiarity with the team and the systems Coach Holtz likes to run. They were a part of one championship run, and now get to return to try and complete a Three-Pete for the Stallions in 2024.

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Sam Just

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