Curtis Johnson named head coach of USFL’s Houston Gamblers

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Curtis Johnson SHOF

Former Assistant Coach With Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints Succeeds Kevin Sumlin

HOUSTON (Feb. 15, 2023) – The USFL today announced that NFL veteran offensive assistant coach and former Tulane Head Coach Curtis Johnson has been hired as the new head coach of the Houston Gamblers. Johnson immediately assumes duties from Kevin Sumlin.

“We’re very excited for Coach Johnson to bring his 35 years of experience improving players at the professional and collegiate levels to the USFL family as the new Houston Gamblers Head Coach,” said Daryl Johnston, Executive Vice President of Football Operations. “Coach Johnson has been on the USFL head coach radar, so when Coach Sumlin recently informed us that he would be stepping down, I immediately called Curtis. We’re thrilled that he enthusiastically embraced the challenge to be the Gamblers Head Coach. As a former assistant coach for the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints team, Coach Johnson knows what it takes to build a winner, so Houston fans should be excited about the brand of football he will bring to the USFL.”

Johnson, 61, returns to professional football after two separate stints with the Saints as a wide receivers coach and senior offensive assistant. In 2009 he coached on the team that won Super Bowl XLIV. In addition to being the Chicago Bears’ wide receivers coach, he held the same job at several universities including California, San Diego State, SMU, Idaho, and Miami, where he helped the 2001 Hurricanes win the National Championship. Johnson’s first head coach job was at Tulane from 2012-2015. He takes over a Gamblers team that will be hosted in Memphis, Tenn., for the upcoming 2023 season.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to serve Houston, their fans, and our players. I want to make the city of Houston proud about our team and the USFL,” said Johnson. “As a former wide receivers coach, I’m going to bring a brand of football that is exciting and fast by airing it out while also running the ball. On defense, the Gamblers will always be focused on being physical and creating turnovers. I’m excited to get to work building a winner for Houston football fans.”

Johnson succeeds former head coach Sumlin.

“We’re grateful to Coach Sumlin for his time and effort standing up the Houston Gamblers and helping the USFL become the first major professional spring football league in nearly 40 years to complete a successful inaugural season and return for Season 2,” said Johnston.

USFL Season 2 kicks-off in April at four host cities in Memphis, Birmingham, Ala., Canton, Ohio, and Detroit.

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