Two teams in the United States Soccer League made changes to their coaching staff with the start of the 2023 season about two months away.
The Michigan Panthers hired Mike Nolan on February 3 to replace Jeff Fisher. On Wednesday, the Houston Gamblers hired Curtis Johnson to replace Kevin Sumlin. The former Texas A&M head coach ended up taking an assistant role at Maryland.
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Nolan was the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2005 to 2008 and went 18-37 in that span. He never had a winning record. The 49ers drafted Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers during his tenure. He served in various other NFL coaching roles after the 49ers fired him midway through the 2008 season. He was the last defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys in 2020.
«I am very excited to join the USFL and the Michigan Panthers. Playing great football and competing at a high level is what the Panthers will be all about,» Nolan said in a news release. «It’s going to take a loud and rabid fan base to help us get there. I’ve experienced the passionate fans of Michigan and Detroit while coaching against the Lions, and I’ve always been impressed. Our goal with the Panthers is to play with energy and pride. the entire state we represent. I want our fans to be proud to support the Panthers.»
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Fisher resigned for personal reasons.
Johnson’s foray into the United States Soccer League after coaching Tulane from 2013 to 2015. He went 13-24 with the Green Wave in that span. Tulane went 7-6 in his first season in 2013, but lost in the New Orleans Bowl. Johnson was an assistant coach for the New Orleans Saints when they captured their first Super Bowl title over the Indianapolis Colts.
«This is a great opportunity to serve Houston, its fans and our players. I want the city of Houston to be proud of our team and the USFL,» Johnson said in another news release. «As a former wide receivers coach, I’m going to bring in a brand of football that is exciting and quick to air it out while also running the ball. On defense, the Gamblers will always focus on being physical and generating turnovers. I’m excited to get going.» work building a winner for Houston soccer fans.
The Panthers went 2-8 last season and the Gamblers went 3-7.
Both teams will play at different facilities in 2023. Michigan will play at Ford Field with the Philadelphia Stars, and the Gamblers will play at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium with the Memphis Showboats.
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The two teams will meet in Week 1 on April 16 at noon ET.