XFL NY/NJ Hitmen Press Release 9
Press Release 9
NY/NJ Hitmen mini-camp news and notes
December 15

If being No. 1 is the primary goal in sports for coaches and athletes alike, why would someone pass up the chance to be No. 1?

Before New York/New Jersey HITMEN™ offensive coordinator Ron Calcagni joined the XFL, he was a member of the coaching staff at the University of Oklahoma. On January 3, 2001, the same OU football team for which Calcagni toiled earlier this fall as an offensive and defensive assistant will take on Florida State University in the Orange Bowl with the national championship at stake.

So why did Calcagni, who served as a major assistant coach on the Division I-A level for more than 16 years, bolt an established, top-ranked program for an upstart football league?

The answer is opportunity.

“Although I enjoyed my time with the University of Oklahoma, the opportunity to coach in the XFL was something that I could not pass up,” Calcagni said. “The HITMEN provided me with the chance to become an offensive coordinator and bring an exciting, wide-open brand of football to the fans in the tri-state area.

“The way I see it,” Calcagni continued, “I’m going from one first-class organization to another.”

In addition to his responsibilities directing the HITMEN offensive attack, Calcagni will also oversee the development of quarterbacks Charles Puleri, Wally Richardson, Kevin Mason and Corte McGuffey. The former University of Arkansas signal caller (1976-1979) has a history of grooming passers, having coached former Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware and Davey O’Brien Award winner David Klingler, among others.

OU has maintained close ties with its erstwhile coach, inviting Calcagni and his family to the Orange Bowl to watch his former players compete for the college football crown. Although the HITMEN will begin training camp on Jan. 2, it’s only a two-hour drive from Orlando, Fla., where the HITMEN will practice, to Miami, site of the national championship game.

“The Sooners were rebuilding and everything came together for them this season,” Calcagni said. “With the HITMEN, I have a chance to be a part of something from the ground floor and have an impact on our offensive fortunes. I didn’t give anything up in making the jump to the XFL - as I said before, it’s a tremendous opportunity.”

Several players were already dreaming of the balmy conditions in Orlando for next month’s training camp.

During a break in practice, defensive end Tim Beauchamp, who played his collegiate football at the University of Florida, gave the weather report for the Sunshine State.

“At home (in Florida), the temperature is 80 degrees,” he said.

Mammoth defensive tackle Christian Maumalanga, no stranger to warm climates, poignantly agreed.

“If we were in Florida right now, I’d walk around in a helmet and jock strap - nothing else,” he said.

OK Christian. Just save it for the runway.

During passing drills, HITMEN Vice President and General Manager Drew Pearson got into the action once again. After watching tight end Ryan Collins, who wears jersey No. 88, drop a pass, Pearson gave him an earful.

“C’mon 88, you have to catch everything if you wear that number,” said the former Cowboy star, who donned jersey No. 88 during his playing days.

Special teams coach Paul Butcher, who threw the quick out route to the tight end, admitted that he threw a bad pass. “It hit him in the back,” Butcher said.

“You still have to catch it if you’re wearing No. 88,” Pearson shot back.

Notes from - [Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5]


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