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Former Bengals assistant Jonathan Hayes named St. Louis' XFL head coach, GM

The former Cincinnati Bengals assistant coach will lead the team when play begins in spring of 2020

April 18, 2019 - 12:11 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Head coach and general manager of the coming St. Louis XFL franchise will be former NFL assistant coach Jonathan Hayes. The 56-year-old was announced during a press conference at the Dome at America's Center, Thursday afternoon. 

Hayes played 12 seasons in the NFL for both the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers, before starting a coaching career with the Oklahoma Sooners and Cincinnati Bengals. He was let go after this season due to Marvin Lewis getting fired after his 14 seasons as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hayes spoke for about seven minutes at the press conference, explaining why he's excited to take over the team in St. Louis.

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"One thing that is vital is that we have to become part of this community," Hayes says. "And the only way that you do that is by going out and by giving back ... We want to build on these communities and make it better. We want people to come out and see what kind of athletes and young men we have. 

"I'm going to make it imperative that our men come out and be involved with the schools, be involved with things that are dear to their heart." 

Hayes has some experience both playing and coaching football in St. Louis. He played against the St. Louis Cardinals football team at Busch Stadium, then coached against the St. Louis Rams when they played at the Dome – which is where his XFL team will play. 

"The one thing I hope that I can put on the city of St. Louis and make sure they understand, we want your support and to be the loudest 12th man when we come out into that stadium," Hayes says. "It will make it very difficult for people to come here and play because that Dome gets loud. As a coach trying to hear yourself call a play when you're standing there it's very difficult."

Commissioner of the XFL, Oliver Luck was in St. Louis to make the announcement. 

St. Louis is among the eight cities who will be handed the reigns to a professional football franchise, set to begin play in the XFL in the spring of 2020. The other XFL frachies will be hosted in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington D.C.

Hayes joins Kevin Gilbride (New York), Pep Hamilton (Washington, D.C.), Bob Stoops (Dallas), Marc Trestman (Tampa Bay) and Jim Zorn (Seattle) as the XFL head coaches named to date.

You can watch the full press conference here:

Fans can begin to put a deposit on season tickets at The Dome at America's Center, which will host games when the season kicks off one week after the Super Bowl in 2020. The deposite is $50 and non-refundable. Also on sale at XFL.com are t-shirts, hoodies and hats with "St. Louis" and "XFL" signage together. 

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This new XFL isn't expected to be same as the league that folded after one season in 2001. 

That version, which was also owned by Vince McMahon of the WWE was known for its jersey nicknames, raunchy skits, and pro wrestling flair is not returning in 2020. Although we don't know all of the details, this league is expected to be a more conservative incarnation.

All the teams will be owned by the league, but St. Louis' team is expected to be playing its five home games at The Dome at America's Center, a source confirmed to KMOX on November 27. 

The XFL has made some changes since it folded the first time in 2001, when wrestling tycoon Vince McMahon first introduced the country to the XFL. The new league will initially have eight teams with 40-man rosters – McMahon will again be in charge of the league, but former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck will come in to be the CEO and commissioner.

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McMahon says character is as important as the quality of the player, so no criminality will be tolerated – players will also be required to stand for the national anthem. 

This is the second new professional league coming to the U.S., as the Alliance of American Football will begin play in 2019, one week after the Super Bowl.  

The AAF reportedly had interest in using St. Louis for neutral site games, but "due to contracts already signed" the Dome was not a viable option. 

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