In a wide-ranging interview yesterday with Birmingham media, Skip Holtz shared his coaching staff for the upcoming UFL season. There are both some familiar names and some new faces coming together to lead the Birmingham Stallions in 2024. As it currently stands, Holtz’s staff includes:
HC/OC/QB: Skip Holtz DC/LB: John Chavis OL: Steve Smith WR: Mike Jones DL: Bill Johnson CB: Daric Riley S: Corey Chamblin ST: Chris Boniol GM: Zach Potter
The @USFLStallions 2024 coaching staff as of today, per Scott Adamson.
HC/OC/QB: Skip Holtz DC/LB: John Chavis OL: Steven Smith WR: Mike Jones DL: Bill Johnson CB: Daric Riley S: Corey Chamblin ST: Chris Boniol#UFL x #GiddyUp🐎https://t.co/HiGnIdETR6
Skip Holtz will lead the Stallions offense for the third year in a row. He has served as the offensive coordinator and play-caller for the Stallions since 2022, and no one expected him to relinquish those duties heading into 2024.
The new addition to the Stallions staff is offensive line coach Steve Smith. Last year, the Stallions o-line coach was former UAB head coach Neil Callaway. Callaway did a great job getting the most out of his o-linemen, but with the league moving to Texas, Callaway decided to step away from the Stallions. Smith, his replacement, is no stranger to the USFL. He has served as the Assistant Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, and Offensive Line coach for the New Jersey Generals for the past two seasons. Smith was out of work with the Generals folding, but he was able to find a new job in Birmingham. The Generals have been known for their fantastic o-line play and ability to run the ball since the USFL began. Smith brings that experience and wisdom with him to the Stallions coaching staff.
The third offensive coach Holtz mentioned was wide receivers coach Mike Jones. Jones has been with the team since 2022, so this will mark his third year on the staff. The Stallions receiving corps has had a great deal of success under his tutelage, sending multiple players to the NFL over the past two years.
The question mark is who will coach the running backs in 2024. Larry Kirksey coached them for the past two years, but Holtz did not mention his name in the interview. It’s possible Holtz just forgot to include Kirksey. Or he may be trying to find his replacement. We will have to wait for more information on that front.
Heading the defense for the third year in a row is “The Chief,” John Chavis. The veteran coach served as defensive coordinator for four different SEC schools before joining the inaugural Stallions staff in 2022. He helped lead the Stallions to two championships, and Holtz will be happy to have him back for a third year in 2024. He will also coach linebackers as he has done in the past.
Only one other defensive coach from the Stallions 2023 staff is joining Chavis: Daric Riley. Riley was Assistant Defensive Backs coach in 2023, and he will return to coach cornerbacks in 2024. Bob Shoop, who also coached defensive backs last year, took a position at Marshall University recently.
Joining Riley to coach defensive backs will be Corey Chamblin. Chamblin is no stranger to the Stallons as he helped coach their secondary in 2022. He left in 2023 to serve on the XFL’s San Antonio Brahmas staff. But he now returns to Birmingham.
Also re-joining the Stallions from the XFL is defensive line coach Bill Johnson. Johnson coached the D-Line in 2022 and helped lead the Stallions to their first championship. He left for the Houston Roughnecks in 2023. Rather than follow Wade Phillips to San Antonio, Johnson returns to Birmingham to help coach the Stallions defensive lineman.
Holtz mentioned that getting Chamblin and Johnson back will be a big boost to the team. Both coaches know the XFL football scene, having coached in the league last year. Since Holtz and the rest of the coaches come from the USFL side of the merger, they will rely on Chamblin and Johnson to help them prepare for half of the Stallions’ opponents in 2024.
Chris Boniol returns to coach the Stallions special teams again after doing so in 2023. The Stallions special teams unit was one of their greatest strengths last season. Brandon Aubrey, the Stallions kicker, is now setting NFL records for the Dallas Cowboys. Ryan Langan and Colby Wadman, the Stallions long snapper and punter, both received All-USFL recognition. The Stallions also had a lot of success in the return game with Deon Cain. Boniol will bring continuity and likely continued success to the Stallions special teams.
Some notes on BHAM staff:
– Holtz, Chavis, & Jones enter 3rd yr w/ team – Riley, Boniol enter 2nd – Smith was NJ’s AHC/OC/OL coach for past 2 yrs – Johnson & Chamblin were w/ the team in ‘22 but left for XFL (ARL & SA). Holtz wanted to bring in guys who knew XFL side of things. https://t.co/voGK5z4ynj
Things are coming together for Birmingham and the other UFL teams. We are now only about six weeks away from training camp. There will continue to be a flurry of news as things are finalized over the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more.
What are your thoughts on the Birmingham Stallions UFL coaching staff? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!