XFL Hires Ex-Cowboys DC for Same Position, Will Join Wade Phillips’ Staff

Brian Stewart

Getty Ex-Defensive coordinator Brian Stewart of the Dallas Cowboys looks on during a game in 2007.

There have been quite a few big-name coaches to work under the Dallas Cowboys, and now one of them is becoming a new member of the XFL.

The third reboot of a football league with the XFL name is underway, with the pro football organization’s official website stating it is shooting for a February 18, 2023 start for its first regular-season games.

After the league announced eight hires for the eight head coaching positions in the league, the XFL is now revealing its next wave of hires, which includes former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Brian Stewart and he’s meeting up with former Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips.

Stewart was the defensive coordinator under Phillips for two seasons, heading the defensive staff in 2007 and 2008.

At the time of writing, the league has not announced the location of teams or their team names. However, the league did announce who will be joining Stewart’s future team as the offensive coordinator and director of player of personnel, with AJ Smith and Marc Lillibridge taking on the roles respectively.

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Stewart Struggled with Cowboys

In terms of prominence, Stewart’s coaching career peaked with the Cowboys defensive coordinator position. However, it was also a point of major failure for the coach.

After working his way up the positional coaching ranks in college football, Stewart initially broke into the NFL with the Houston Texans in 2002 as an assistant defensive backs coach. His work was noticed by Phillips, who eventually hired him to be the secondary coach for the San Diego Chargers when Phillips was the DC. Stewart worked with Phillips in San Diego from 2004 to 2007.

When Phillips was hired as the head coach of the Cowboys in 2007, he pegged Stewart as his defensive coordinator. Dallas went 13-3 in the first season under Phillips, with the defense giving up a mediocre 20 points a game.

However, a disastrous defensive start in 2008 that saw opposing offenses score 25+ points in the first seven games caused Phillips to take over defensive play-calling responsibilities from Stewart. Dallas would still miss the playoffs after a 9-7 season.

Stewart was let go shortly after the season, and Phillips took over the defensive coordinator title until his firing in November of the 2010 season.


XFL Building Momentum

Besides an obvious and superior competitor in the NFL, the XFL is also competing with the recently restarted USFL. The strategy from the XFL appears to be bringing in big-name staff members like Phillips and Bob Stoops, while also striking important TV deals.

The XFL has already partnered with ESPN and Disney for its streaming rights and and have a celebrity owner in Dwayne Johnson.

“It is exciting to have both new and returning names joining our growing League. For me, this is a clear signal that the reimagined XFL, guided by the innovative vision of our new ownership group, has the potential to make a positive impact on the entire football ecosystem, and people want to be a part of building this new league of opportunity for players and coaches, alike,” said President of the XFL Russ Brandon in the press release. “As we gear up for a busy summer of scouting events, we are encouraged to see the continued interest in our League from players, which has been reflected in the strong demand and registration for our upcoming showcases. We expect this momentum to continue, especially as we get closer to our Draft in November.”

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