If you follow sports and entertainment, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Vince McMahon.
The founder of the XFL, a pro football league that will begin play this spring, McMahon was born in Pinehurst more than seven decades ago. He’s best known for his long run as a professional wrestling promoter and executive – he assumed control what’s now the WWE in 1982 – but he’s been involved in pro football before.
In 2000, McMahon launched the original XFL, which lasted one season (2001). The league had teams in major cities, including Las Vegas, Memphis and Orlando, but ceased operations less than three weeks after its only championship game, played at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Like the first XFL, the 2020 version will have eight teams – all owned by the league – but there won’t be reliance on pro wrestling-style features. The upcoming XFL is instead focused on having less off-field problems and offering faster, simpler football when compared with the NFL.
Among cities with teams are Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington, D.C., New York, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. The XFL commissioner is Oliver Luck, who played quarterback for the NFL’s Houston Oilers (1982-86). Additionally, Luck has been CEO of the Houston Sports Authority, president of the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer, athletic director at West Virginia University, where he was a collegiate standout, and executive vice president of regulatory affairs for the NCAA (2014-18).
McMahon, a 1968 grad of East Carolina University, where he majored in business, became play-by-play announcer for the World Wide Wrestling Federation in 1971. He occupied that role until November 1997. In 2008, McMahon received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Several XFL teams have head coaches who’ve held the same posts in the NFL. The Houston Roughnecks are coached by June Jones, who has been a head coach in the NFL and CFL. Jones has also coached at Hawaii and SMU.
Kevin Gilbride is head coach and GM of the New York Guardians. A longtime offensive coordinator in the NFL, Gilbride coached the San Diego Chargers in the 1990s. He won a pair of Super Bowls as an assistant with the New York Giants.
Jim Zorn is general manager and head coach for the Seattle Dragons. A quarterback during his playing days, Zorn passed for 21,115 yards and 111 touchdowns in the NFL. As head coach of the Washington Redskins (2008-2009), he compiled a 12-20 record.
A former head coach of the Chicago Bears, Marc Trestman is the GM and coach for the Tampa Bay Vipers. Trestman went 13-19 coaching the Bears in 2013 and 2014. He’s enjoyed considerable success in the CFL, totaling a 72-54 overall record. Trestman’s won three Grey Cups (CFL championships), two with Montreal and one with Toronto. The Minnesota native was offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens for two seasons (2015, 2016).
The XFL starts its inaugural season February 8.
Feature photo courtesy of XFL.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Dave Lukow.