Key Points:

  • Reggie Barlow returns as head coach for the D.C. Defenders in the 2024 UFL season.
  • The coaching staff sees minimal changes, maintaining core members and introducing Sean Anderson as the new wide receivers coach.
  • D.C. Defenders focus on continuity and expertise, with a strong track record in previous seasons including a 9-1 record.

Coaching Continuity and Expertise

The D.C. Defenders, under the guidance of head coach Reggie Barlow, have showcased stability in their coaching staff for the 2024 UFL season. Barlow, awarded 2023 Coach of the Year, continues to lead the team, supported by a seasoned team of assistants including Fred Kaiss (Offensive Coordinator) and Gregg Williams (Defensive Coordinator). This continuity is a strategic move to leverage the team’s previous success.

D.C. Defenders Coaching Staff for the 2024 UFL Season

  • Reggie Barlow: Head Coach
  • Von Hutchins: General Manager
  • Vernon Dean: Defensive Backs Coach
  • Fred Kaiss: Offensive Coordinator
  • Sean Anderson: Wide Receivers Coach
  • Russ Ehrenfeld: Offensive Line Coach
  • Deion Harris: Linebackers Coach
  • Shannon Harris: Quarterbacks Coach
  • Jeremy Watkins: Defensive Line Coach
  • Gregg Williams: Defensive Coordinator

Reggie Barlow(HC), a former NFL player, transitioned into coaching, leading teams at Alabama State and Virginia State to significant successes. During his tenure, Barlow coached several players who went on to play in the NFL, highlighting his ability to develop talent. His coaching career at Alabama State was marked by five consecutive winning seasons, cementing his legacy there before moving on to coach the D.C. Defenders in the XFL, where he achieved a 9-1 record and won the 2023 XFL Coach of the Year Award​​​​.

Fred Kaiss(OC), known for his long history in coaching, has worked closely with Barlow in the past, particularly at Alabama State. His diverse coaching background at various educational levels lends a broad perspective to his role as the Offensive Coordinator for the D.C. Defenders​​.

Gregg Williams(DC), with a substantial NFL coaching background including a Super Bowl win with the New Orleans Saints, brings a wealth of experience to the D.C. Defenders as their Defensive Coordinator. His tenure in the NFL, including roles with the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, has prepared him well for this position​​.

Von Hutchins(GM), known for his tenure in the NFL as a defensive back with teams like the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans, transitioned into a significant behind-the-scenes role as the Director of Player Personnel for the DC Defenders. His experience as a former NFL player brings a unique perspective to the team’s operations, potentially enhancing the Defenders’ strategic and personnel decisions​​.

Vernon Dean(DB), after an illustrious career in the NFL primarily with the Washington Redskins, where he was recognized for his performance with selections such as the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by Football Digest in ’82, transitioned into coaching. Dean has brought his extensive experience to various levels, coaching high school, collegiate, and professional teams before joining the DC Defenders as their Defensive Backs Coach. His coaching career includes notable stints with the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens in the NFL, and more recently, contributing to a undefeated season at Virginia State University as their defensive backs coach​.

Russ Ehrenfeld(OL) has a distinguished coaching career, particularly with Tennessee State University, where he significantly contributed to the development of the offensive line. Ehrenfeld’s tenure at TSU is marked by his ability to produce NFL draft picks, showcasing his effectiveness in developing talent for professional play. His coaching philosophy and strategies have evidently led to notable successes, including leading the team to capture back-to-back OVC championships and contributing to an environment that fostered NFL-level talent​​​​.

Deion Harris(LB), taking on the role of Linebackers Coach, has an interesting background as a player before moving into coaching. Harris played for Reggie Barlow at Virginia State University and won a conference championship. He was a Defensive Line Graduate Assistant before joining DC. In 2023 he served as quality control and assistant defensive line coach for the Defenders.

Shannon Harris(QB), appointed as the Quarterbacks Coach for the DC Defenders, brings a rich background of coaching experience to the team. His previous roles have included serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Virginia State, where he collaborated closely with Reggie Barlow. Before his tenure at Virginia State, Harris honed his skills in developing the passing game at Alcorn State University as the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. His efforts contributed to Alcorn leading the SWAC in total offense and first downs in 2017. Harris’s extensive experience across various aspects of football, combined with his history as a standout quarterback at Tennessee State, positions him as a key asset in nurturing the Defenders’ quarterbacks​​.

Jeremy Watkins(DL), the Defensive Line Coach for the DC Defenders, embarked on his coaching journey at Alderson Broaddus in 2019. Here, he made a significant impact by coaching two defensive linemen to all-conference and all-freshman team honors. Before this role, Watkins dedicated ten years to coaching high school football in Alabama, bringing a wealth of experience to his position. His tenure also includes serving as the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Jeff Davis High School in Montgomery, AL. Watkins’s academic background includes a B.S. degree in Physical Education from Alabama State University, where he was a football player from 2002 to 2004, achieving notable success including winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference East Division and Championship​​.

New Arrivals and Adjustments

Sean Anderson joined Alabama State as the wide receivers coach in 2019, enhancing the team’s aerial attack significantly and most likely helping at Special Teams. Before Alabama State, he made notable contributions at Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) from 2014 to 2019, where his coaching led to top-ranked punt and kickoff return teams nationally. His tenure at MVSU saw quarterbacks breaking several passing records in 2017. Anderson also served as the Recruiting Coordinator and offensive assistant at Rice University, recognized for his coaching prowess on Football Scoop’s Minority Coach Watch List in 2022. His coaching career is marked by his ability to develop talent, particularly among wide receivers and quarterbacks across various institutions​​​​​​.

Not Returning To DC In 2024

Former Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl winning linebacker Jamie Sharper, former wide receivers coach Alvance Robinson and tight ends coach Cody Crill are all out in 2024 to pursue other coaching jobs. The UFL lowered its coaching staff budget and changed the position to seasonal so some coaches have chose to moved on.

Record of Success

Under Barlow’s leadership, the Defenders achieved a league-best 9-1 record in the previous season, leading to a championship game appearance. The team’s performance was highlighted by leading the league in rushing yards and touchdowns, and on defense, they ranked highly in sacks and pick-sixes.

The D.C. Defenders enter the 2024 UFL season with a blend of continuity and fresh insights in their coaching staff. The team’s focus on leveraging existing strengths while introducing strategic adjustments positions them as contenders for the championship. With a commitment to excellence and strategic leadership, the Defenders are poised for another successful season.

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author avatar
Mark Perry Editor
Mark Perry, a devoted sports journalist and founder of UFL News Hub, has been a key figure in XFL, USFL and UFL coverage since 2018.


  • Posted February 23, 2024 9:03 pm 0Likes
    by Desha Harris

    The information you have for Deion Harris is incorrect. He played for Reggie Barlow at Virginia State and won a conference championship with coach Barlow

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