DC Defenders

How XFL's DC Defenders coach Pep Hamilton is working from home during coronavirus pause

How XFL's DC Defenders coach Pep Hamilton is working from home during coronavirus pause

The DC Defenders had a perfect 3-0 home record with eyes set on winning the championship when the COVID-19 coronavirus put their season on hold. 

But the eventual reality we are all too familiar with finally came: Season canceled.

Defenders coach Pep Hamilton said it wasn’t just missing out on a title that disappointed him, but for his players that were hoping to be picked up by an NFL team. 

A few did find NFL homes. For the others, it’s about staying in football shape.  Hamilton stresses to his players they never know when the call could come, so they must be ready and a good routine is key.   

“We help them structure their weeks and their days,” Hamilton said.  

But with no access to a full gym, the training staff has to get creative so that work can be done from home. They’ve given Defenders players total body workouts, manual resistance, high-repetition work.  Every detail matters.  

Hamilton said when the coronavirus pandemic began he talked to his players about the importance of staying together and focusing on football, to stay in the moment amidst all the craze.  

Many moments have come since then. The XFL says it plans to come back for 2021, but of course Hamilton understands it’s more than that.  

“The biggest challenge is the uncertainty of when we get back to normalcy in our society and everybody be able to get back to work and the kids will be able to get back to school,” Hamilton said.   

He is plenty busy right now. His three kids are in grade school and the educating is being done at home now.  

“My wife and I, we’re home-schooling the kids and I teach PE and I’m the history teacher,” Hamilton said.   

Wait, PE we get. But history? What history is that?  

“Recent history, my history,” Hamilton said. “A lot of DC history, a lot of Howard history.” 

Hamilton played quarterback at Howard, of course, and it’s where his coaching career began before heading to the NFL as an assistant coach for the Jets, 49ers, Bears, Colts, and Browns. He also spent time at Stanford and Michigan (with Redskins new offensive coordinator Scott Turner) before taking on his first head coaching job with the Defenders.  

Hamilton’s role as a full-time home-schooling dad is relatively new. 

“I hadn’t had a lot of time to spend with my kids during football season,” Hamilton said. “Over the years, I’ve typically left to go to work before they get up and I don’t get back home until they are sound asleep. So they tell me that I am like Major Payne around the household.” 

It’s a joke, of course, but the reality is we don’t know when we can go back to work.  What we do know is that when the time comes, you’ll no longer have to drag your kids out of bed, or dread setting your alarm for the office, or want to skip that workout. Perspective is powerful. And while Hamilton says his kids would still prefer to sleep past noon, that only happens a few days a week their household. 

“It’s our goal to keep some structure in their lives to create a routine that is not stressful for the kids and our family,” Hamilton said. “Everyone is carrying a bit more stress right now just because of the harsh transition in our lifestyle and so we’ve found ways to incorporate our family time with the structured time that we feel like will allow our kids to enjoy their lives.” 

MORE XFL NEWS:

Report: XFL seeking new ownership after bankruptcy filing

Report: XFL seeking new ownership after bankruptcy filing

One month after filing for bankruptcy, the XFL is reportedly seeking new ownership in an attempt to save the league, according to Axios

Axios obtained documents that show an investment bank, Houlihan Lokey, managing the process, with letter of intent due by June 12 and formal bids due on July 6. 

The XFL claims to have been on pace to generate $46 million in revenue during its inaugural season. According to Axios' report, the league also had an average game attendance of 20,000 and 1.9 million average broadcast viewers for the nationally distributed games.

But the pandemic forced the league to cancel the rest of the season, suspend operations and lay off employees.

It was an abrupt move that left players, coaches and other team and league personnel wondering what's next. Some players parlayed XFL success to opportunities in the NFL, and former D.C. Defenders head coach Pep Hamilton landed on his feet with a professional gig with the Chargers. But that's not the case for the vast majority who were involved. 

If investors chose to revive the league, it would be done in the uncertain times currently swirling during the pandemic. Complicating matters is the indefinite timetable of the pandemic's duration. 

Dan Primack of Axios spoke to industry investors who are skeptical of somebody stepping forward to buy the entire league. But, those sources also acknowledged that sports can be unpredictable. 

"There are lots of people who are very rich but not rich enough to own an NFL team, so maybe someone will see this as the next best thing at a bargain price," one source said.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE XFL NEWS:

 

Former XFL Defenders coach Pep Hamilton expected to go to Chargers, source says

Former XFL Defenders coach Pep Hamilton expected to go to Chargers, source says

Former XFL Defenders coach Pep Hamilton is heading to the Chargers to be the team's new quarterbacks coach though the deal is not yet official, a source with knowledge of the situation told NBC Sports Washington's Julie Donaldson. 

Hamilton led the Defenders to an exciting start in their inaugural season in Washington before league ceased operations earlier this month due to the effects of the COV-19 virus. 

Before his stint at the Defenders, Hamilton worked in various roles around the NFL, most recently as the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach for the Cleveland Browns. Immediately before coming to D.C., he was the passing game coordinator and assistant head coach at the University of Michigan.

He started his career at Howard University, where he played quarterback as a student and returned as a quarterbacks coach.

MORE XFL NEWS: