Georgia football: Hines Ward gets excellent opportunity as an XFL head coach

Wide receiver Hines Ward
Wide receiver Hines Ward /

Former Georgia football player Hines Ward was announced today as a head coach for the returning XFL football league in 2023.

The team he will be coaching has not been announced yet, but Ward joins an elite list of coaches for the next edition of the XFL. Notable names include Bob Stoops, Wade Phillips, and Rod Woodson.

Ward is a Georgia football and Pittsburgh Steelers legend who will get his first taste of being a head football coach in the latest XFL reboot.

Georgia football sees one of its best become a head coach.

Ward has never been a head coach, but he does have coaching experience in his career. He served as an offensive assistant for two seasons with the New York Jets and was the wide receivers coach for Florida Atlantic in 2021.

He interviewed for the Houston Texans head coaching position in January before Lovie Smith ultimately got the job. Ward was also rumored to be a candidate for Georgia’s wide receivers coaching job earlier this year following Cortez Hankton’s departure for LSU.

Head coach Kirby Smart would ultimately hire another former Bulldog wide receiver, Bryan McClendon, for the position.

Ward played at Georgia from 1994-97 and established himself as one of the most versatile players in program history. He made plays as a wide receiver, running back, quarterback, and kick returner on special teams. Ward accounted for 3,031 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns.

His junior season was his best at Georgia, as he caught 52 passes for 900 yards and four touchdowns, establishing a great connection with Bulldog quarterback Mike Bobo.

The Pittsburgh Steelers would draft Ward in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft following his Georgia career. In 14 seasons with the Steelers, he was named to four Pro Bowls, won two Super Bowls, and was named MVP of Super Bowl XL. He holds records for the most career receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns in Steelers’ history.

This is the third attempt to launch the XFL. Formed originally by Vince McMahon, chairman/CEO of WWE, the league held its first season in 2001. After dismal TV ratings and massive profit loss, the league ended at the end of the season.

It was revived in 2020, but after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of games, the league folded again and was ultimately put up for sale. A group led by Dwayne, “the Rock” Johnson, and business woman Dany Garcia, purchased the XFL in late 2020 and would later announce a return in 2023.

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Here’s to hoping Hines Ward and the rest of the XFL personnel have a successful season next year so the league can stick around for more than one year this time.