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2023 Gamblers Coaching Staff

The Houston Gamblers experienced large turnover with their coaching staff after the inaugural season of the USFL. There were many holes to fill and head coach Kevin Sumlin and GM Robert Morris went to work and found up some veteran coaches and up and comers to lead the Gamblers in 2023.

Chris Wilson - Defensive Coordinator

Chris Wilson is a Texas native who played LB in Richardson Texas. After a successful college career at the University of Oklahoma he was drafted to the NFL by the Chicago Bears. After his playing career concluded he moved to coaching spending most of his time coaching linebackers, defensive line, and finally working his way to defensive coordinator.

Coach Wilson spent time on the same coaching staff as Kevin Sumlin from 2006-2007 at the University of Oklahoma. After Oklahoma, Coach Wilson moved to Mississippi State and earned the defensive coordinator position where Gamblers GM Robert Morris saw his potential and talent with defensive schemes. Later with the Philadelphia Eagles, Wilson coached the defensive line and won Super Bowl LII.

All of the defensive free agent signings the Gamblers have had this season were signed before Wilson was brought on board. He addressed this by saying "I will adapt to a scheme that maximizes the talent the Gamblers have". Safe to say, the defense will look different in season two.

Ray Rychleski - Special Teams Coordinator / Tight Ends

Coach Ray Rychleski is the most veteran coach on the staff, and with that comes a great understanding of the game and the best football stories you will ever hear. A longtime friend of Gamblers GM Robert Morris, he was excited for another opportunity to coach when he received the call. Retirement doesn't seem to be Coach Ray's thing.

With over 40 years of coaching experience, Ray has seen everything football has to offer. High school, college, NFL, and spring football, Coach Ray has coached in all of them. In 2009 he was the special teams coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts and went to the Super Bowl with them that year. Having a hand in the drafting of Pat McAfee, he has proven he can identify talent.

In the spring football world Coach Ray is now in his fourth spring league with the USFL. Spring football is no stranger to Rychleski after he has coached in the CFL, AAF, and XFL 2.0. In his interview on the USFL Network Show Gamblers Table Talk, he expressed that he is excited for this next spring venture in his career, and will make the most of it.

Andy Townsend - Offensive Line

Going into his second season with the Gamblers, Coach Andy is moving from being the running backs coach to the position he played in college, offensive line. Townsend joined the Gamblers staff mid season last year when Coach JD Runnels has to step away for personal reasons. In that short time, Townsend proved himself to Sumlin and Morris and moved up to the position he has only ever had success at.

Townsend started his coaching career after graduating from East Texas Baptist where he played offensive line. Through an internship at Southern Methodist University and moving his way up the ranks of division 2 college football, he landed the defensive line coaching job at Texas A&M Commerce and helped lead them to winning the 2017 division 2 national championship.

At the professional level, Coach Townsend hopes to continue his streak of success with the Gamblers in 2023 in his first full season with the USFL. With Townsend and the slew of new offensive lineman GM Morris has signed, the Gamblers quarterbacks can rest well at night knowing they will be safe in the backfield.

Tony McClain - Running Backs

The second new coach on the Gamblers staff making his professional debut is Tony McClain. Coming from a football family, coaching only makes sense for the Texan coach. Playing his college ball at Auburn and Southern Illinois University, he then play in the AFL for the Kansas City Brigade and Rio Grande Dorados.

Starting his coaching career in high school, he helped coach Austin Westlake with an overall record of 67-5. Moving up to college McClain was the special teams coordinator and defensive line coach at Texas Wesleyan and then special teams coordinator and run game coordinator at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. All of these accolades earned him the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship with the Dallas Cowboys. With all of these, the accomplishment in football he is most proud of is being recognized as one of the top 125 minority coaches in the country.

The Gamblers had one of the best running games in the USFL last season, and with Coach McClain at the helm and 3 of the 4 RBs returning, it is sure to be even better in 2023.

Eric Price - Wide Receivers

Eric Price is a veteran coach that knows the game as well as anyone. The eldest son of long time college head coach Mike Price, the Price family has always been around football.

Eric Price followed family tradition and has coached in college and the NFL since the mid 90s. Specializing in offense, he has coached wide receivers, running backs, quarterbacks, and has offensive coordinator multiple times most recently at Tulane. In a recent hiatus from coaching, he has been traveling the country hosting quarterback camps and teaching some of the best up and coming quarterbacks.

The Gamblers are glad that Coach Price has decided to come back to coaching to lead the wide receivers for them in 2023.

Phillip Daniels - Defensive Line

Phillip Daniels was a pure athlete in high school being a triple sport athlete with football, basketball, and baseball. He was then a stand out at the University of Georgia starting at three different positions including defensive tackle, linebacker, and defensive end in that order somehow. His talent was rewarded in 1996 when he was drafted to the NFL by the Seattle Seahawks. He ended his playing career with the now Washington Commanders with head coach Mike Shanahan who stated upon Daniels release that he saw him as a coach or in front office because of the way he prepares and handles himself.

Shanahan was proved correct the next year when Daniels was hired by the now Commanders as their Director of Player Development. From here coaching was Daniels destiny as he coached first annual NFLPA All-Star game. He was then hired to assist Gamblers DC Chris Wilson in coaching the defensive line on the Philadelphia Eagles earning him a Super Bowl win. He eventually replaced Wilson as the defensive line coach when he move onto his next opportunity.

Coach Daniels and Coach Wilson have successful history together, which most likely is why Wilson requested Daniels to be the next Defensive Line coach of the Houston Gamblers. The defensive line for the Gamblers lead the league in sacks and produced the defensive player of the year, and they are in a prime spot to repeat the new tradition.

Brett Maxie - Defensive Backs

The Gamblers have gathered a great group of coaches with many reigning from the Lone Star State, including new defensive backs coach Brett Maxie from Dallas. Playing at Texas Southern University, he was signed by the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent and played in the NFL until 1997.

Getting his coaching start as the quality control and defensive backs coach with the Carolina Panthers, he has been coaching ever since. His coaching career was all NFL teams until he took a small detour into high school coaching at IMG Academy in 2019 as their defensive coordinator. His most recent job was as the safeties coach for Colorado University at Boulder under defensive coordinator Chris Wilson. Both left the university in 2022 and have joined the Gamblers staff together to keep their chemistry defensively in the USFL. The Gamblers have signed more defensive backs than any other position, meaning Coach Maxie has a handful in camp making roster cuts.

Jeff Smart - Linebackers / Quality Control

Jeff Smart was a hometown hero in the city of Boulder Colorado as he became the third walk-on player at Colorado University in Boulder to lead the team in tackles. After graduating with a masters in education, he took to coaching. Starting at CU Boulder as a graduate assistant, he moved on to Columbia University as their assistant director of strength and conditioning.

Eventually, Smart found himself back coaching his alma mater under Chris Wilson. Much like Coach Maxie, Coach Smart left CU Boulder after 2022 and is headed to the USFL with the Houston Gamblers. This is Jeff Smart's first job at the professional level, and if his past has taught us anything, the Gamblers will get his best.

There were many questions heading into the offseason after the 2022 season for the Gamblers with players and especially caoches. Due to the hard work that Sumlin and Morris have put in, those questions have been answered. The new defensive coaches are coming into the USFL with more chemistry than some other teams have after season one together, and the offense has some of the best young coaches in the league. The Gamblers are all in with this staff. Do you smell a championship?

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