AAF 2019: Atlanta Legends deal with coach, coordinator changes before even playing first game

The Alliance of American Football kicks off Saturday night, and the Atlanta Legends are among four teams set to make their debut as part of the AAF's Week 1 schedule.

When the Legends take the Spectrum Stadium field against Steve Spurrier's Orlando Apollos, however, they'll do so with a head coach who's held that position for only a month, and they also won't have the offensive coordinator they expected after Michael Vick stepped down this week.

A year after serving as LSU's defensive analyst, Kevin Coyle joined the Legends as defensive coordinator, the same title he held with the Miami Dolphins from 2012-2015. So he's been with the team since before its players arrived. It was more than a week into January when AAF executive J.K. McKay announced the abrupt resignation of head coach Brad Childress, with Coyle ascending to the staff's top job.

Both of the AAF openers -- Atlanta-Orlando and San Diego-San Antonio -- are at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on CBS, with regional coverage, or stream on CBS All Access

Like Spurrier, Mike Martz and Mike Singletary, Childress was among the first big-name additions to the AAF roster, bringing a plethora of NFL experience to the upstart league. He was most recently an offensive analyst for the Chicago Bears in 2018 and served as Andy Reid's assistant head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs the year prior. But with just about a month until Atlanta's AAF kickoff, he departed for what McKay deemed his "next endeavor," leaving Coyle to become a head coach for the first time in his career.

It wasn't the only prominent, last-minute change to the Legends' staff, either, as offensive coordinator Michael Vick, an Atlanta icon who starred with the Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL, stepped down just this week, transitioning to an advisory role because of various other commitments.

At 63, Coyle at least brings a wealth of experience as an assistant to his first head coaching gig. He got his start on the sidelines back in 1978 as a graduate assistant for Cincinnati, then got his first defensive coordinator role with Holy Cross in 1986. After three more coordinator stops in college, including at Maryland and Syracuse, Coyle rose to the NFL as the Cincinnati Bengals' cornerbacks coach in 2001, working under Marvin Lewis through 2011, then again from 2016-2017.

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