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Jim Criner
Head Coach

Jim Criner was named the Outlaws inaugural head coach on August 10, 2000, and quickly proclaimed that no football staff at any level professional, college or high school would work harder or smarter than the one he assembled for Las Vegas first XFL season. Upon his departure from Scotland for the XFL, the Scottish press remembered Criner: Typical Jim Criner. A tireless worker, a man always looking for an edge, a gentleman who gives you everything he has.

Very few coaches worldwide embrace the task of building a team from scratch like Coach Criner. After six seasons as head coach for the Scottish Claymores of the NFL Europe League, which included one World Bowl title in 1996 and a NFL Europe runner-up finish in 2000, Criner brings more than 30 years of coaching experience to the Outlaws. Along with his head coaching duties for Las Vegas, Coach Criner also directly oversees the offensive line. Twenty of Criners former Claymores offensive lineman are on NFL rosters.

He finished his NFL Europe career with a 26-34 record, impressive considering that he was named head coach of the Claymores in just five days before the 1995 season, which he and his players endured with a skeleton coaching staff and another coachs system. Criners Claymores rebounded the following year to capture the World Bowl with a 32-27 victory over the Frankfurt Galaxy, a campaign following which Criner was named the 1996 World League Coach of the Year.

The dignity with which Criner accepted that bitter 2-8 season and then rebounded one season later with a steely resolve to bury forever the memory of 1995 was what endeared him to the Scottish people. So much so that Criner finished third among nominees for the Scottish Sports Personality of the Year, a remarkable achievement for a non-player and a man who had only been in the country for about 18 months.

Criner began his World League coaching career as an offensive line coach with Sacramento Surge in 1991, going on to win the 1992 World Bowl with the club.

Renowned among professional players worldwide as the consummate teacher, Criners successful coaching career began in 1963 at Charter Oaks High School in Sacramento, Calif., where he worked for Jim Hanifan. Criner quickly advanced to the college level with stints at the University of Utah (1967), Cal-State Hayward (1968), the University of California at Berkeley (1969-71) and Brigham Young University (1972). In 1973, Criner began a three-year tenure at UCLA where he coached with Pepper Rogers and former St. Louis Rams head coach Dick Vermeil.

From 1976 to 1982, Criner was the head coach at Division I-AA Boise State University in Idaho, leading the Broncos to four Big Sky Conference titles and advancing to the NCAA I-AA Championship Game twice before winning the title in 1980. Criners teams recorded three consecutive 10-win seasons and his overall record at Boise State was 59-21-1, a winning percentage of .735.

After establishing Boise State as a regional power, Criner faced a new challenge as head coach at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, from 1983 to 1986. He helped the Cyclones become competitive in the Big Eight before taking a break from coaching for five years.


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