With coaches arriving at training camp for the USFL this week, the Houston Gamblers officially announce their full coaching staff heading into the 2023 season.
The team made the announcement Wednesday that showcases a whole new staff with most not returning from Kevin Sumlin’s staff last year.
Houston Gamblers Coaching Staff
General Manager: Robert Morris
The staff begins in the front office with Robert Morris as their general manager after Kevin Sumlin was serving as head coach and general manager last season. Morris brings with him over 20 years of coaching experience at the college level. He was also an NFL scout for 15 years. Morris isn’t a stranger to spring football as he worked in the AAF and the XFL prior to joining the USFL.
Head Coach: Curtis Johnson
Curtis Johnson takes over for Kevin Sumlin as head coach as his coaching career started as a wide receiver coach in college from 1987 until 2005 winning a national title with the Miami Hurricanes. Johnson made the change to the NFL as the wide receiver coach for the New Orleans Saints from 2006 until 2011 winning a Super Bowl with the team.
He would earn his chance to be a head coach when he was hired by Tulane to be their leading man in the program. His best season came in 2013 when he led the team to a 7-6 record after losing in the New Orleans Bowl. Johnson led the program from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference. He was fired by the team in 2015 after four seasons with the team after going 15-34 and winning 11 conference games.
Johnson returned to the NFL coaching the receivers for the Chicago Bears in 2016. He would end up with Sean Payton’s Saints staff again from 2017 until 2021.
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterback Coach: Eric Price
Eric Price has coached in the NFL and the college game like the path that Coach Johnson took. Price has been an assistant coach for multiple teams including the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. This is not his first offensive coordinator job as he coached for UTEP, Alabama, and Memphis. He served as offensive coordinator under coach Johnson with Tulane.
Offensive Line Coach: Andy Townsend
Andy Townsend has been a college assistant from 2010 until 2019 coaching for Navarro College, West Texas A&M, SMU, and Texas A&M Commerce. Another not-so-stranger to spring football, Townsend was an assistant director of football operations with the AAF’s Memphis Express. After that, he joined the then-Dallas Renegades of the XFL as a scout. He’s the only coach returning from last year’s Houston Gamblers coaching staff.
Running Backs/Wide Receivers/Offensive Quality Coach: Garrett Chachere
Garrett Chachere has been a coach since 1991 and has coached 13 different colleges during that span. Chachere stops have included California, Tulane, Memphis, Arizona, and Southern Miss. His most recent stop was with Western Kentucky as a running backs coach.
Special Teams/Tight End Coach: Ray Rychleski
Ray Rychleski has been an assistant coach on the professional level, being an assistant for the Indianapolis Colts from 2009 until 2011. Rychleski spent time in the CFL in 2013 as a special teams coordinator for the Montreal Alouettes. As a spring league football veteran, he coached special teams in the AAF for the Birmingham Iron and the XFL for the New York Guardians.
Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach: Chris Wilson
Chris Wilson started coaching in 1993 and has coached for multiple colleges and NFL teams. Wilson spent time with Oklahoma from 2005 until 2009 before landing a defensive coordinator job with Mississippi State in 2010. He won a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 as their defensive line coach. His more recent job was with Colorado as their defensive coordinator.
Defensive Backs Coach: Brett Maxie
After playing in the NFL as a defensive back from 1985 through 1997, Brett Maxie got into coaching as an assistant coach for six NFL teams. In 2014, Maxie, moved to college coaching the secondary for Vanderbilt before returning to the NFL for a short stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was defensive coordinator for IMG Academy in 2019 and was most recently with Colorado coaching their safeties from 2020 until 2022.
Defensive Line Coach: Kwahn Drake
Kwahn Drake has previously coached until head coach Johnson at Tulane as well as with Eastern Illinois. Drake has experience with the USFL after coaching the defensive line for Jeff Fisher and the Michigan Panthers last season. After Fisher left his job as head coach, coach Johnson brought Drake on to coach his defensive line.
Assistant Defensive Backs/Defensive Quality Coach: Zach Shagi
Zach Shagi has coached on the high school level since 2018 with Connetquot High School. Shagi held multiple positions including quarterbacks coach, outside linebackers coach, offensive line coach, defensive line coach, and offensive coordinator. He spent time with the XFL before making his mark with the Houston Gamblers.