Seahawks legend Jim Zorn brings experience, excitement to new role as XFL Seattle coach
Seattle’s newest head coach brings plenty of veteran experience – and a sense of humor – to his role with the XFL Seattle team.
Former Seahawks quarterback Jim Zorn, 65, was officially announced as the head coach and general manager of Seattle’s yet-to-be-named XFL team Monday. The newest football league will kick off play in February 2020. Zorn is the third head coach to be announced; longtime Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops will oversee XFL Dallas, while Pep Hamilton will oversee the XFL’s Washington, D.C. team.
After being announced as the new head coach by XFL commissioner Oliver Luck, Zorn was quick to get a joke in about his colleague.
“One of the reasons I accepted the position here is because he has a son named Andrew Luck, and we have the first shot at him I think — isn’t that what you said?” Zorn said with a laugh.
But when it comes to the new XFL, a revamped version of the league that operated for a single season 19 years ago, Zorn is taking his role seriously.
“I got excited,” Zorn said of hearing more about the league from its founder, WWE CEO Vince McMahon. “Because it’s going to be real football, we’re going to have real names on the back of jerseys. And it’s also going to be a bit creative. I think each head coach is going to have to really think through — and this is one of the things I’m most excited about — what it’s going to be like to have a few little tweaks when it comes to the clock, when it comes to getting the ball ready for play, and when it comes to what we can do both offensively and defensively with players who may not have had the opportunity they wanted to get to a professional level.
“Certainly in this community, I see players coming and going from the Seahawks team every year, and I’m thinking, ‘Ugh, this guy is really good.’ And I know that even (Seahawks general manager) John Schneider and (head coach) Pete Carroll sometimes have to agonize about letting these players go on their way, when it may be that they’re just not developed enough. So, that’s one of the reasons that I’m trying to get involved with this league, because I love to have influence over young players and develop young players.”
The XFL’s eight franchises will have just under one year to build their teams up from the ground.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Zorn said. “We really do. We don’t get to hire many, but the ones we hire I hope can put together a franchise very quickly that will be competitive very quickly, because this game’s going to move fast… I want to see these Seattle fans come out and continue to put themselves in the way of any team that tries to come in here and compete against us. I’m privileged to be in a community where I do know the fans will come out and support. ”
Both Zorn and Luck praised fan support in Washington state, but the former Seahawk couldn’t helping getting one more joke.
“We’ve already got eight season ticket holders, did you know that?” Zorn quipped. “We’re going to have eight people I know of in the stands, it’s going to be awesome.”
Zorn, who lives in Washington state, was rumored to have joined the XFL as a coach earlier this month. A well-known local sports figure, Zorn was the first quarterback in Seahawks franchise history. He played for Seattle from 1976-84, and later returned to the organization in 2001 as quarterbacks coach. He was also Washington’s head coach for the 2008 and 2009 NFL seasons.