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  • Wednesday, July 19, 2000

    Butkus hired as coach of Chicago's XFL team

    By DON BABWIN -- Associated Press

     CHICAGO -- Dick Butkus has never been a coach, but he's played one on TV.

     He was a lovable basketball coach on a children's sitcom. As for football, he did coach one game against Al Pacino in an Oliver Stone movie.

     All that was good enough for Vince McMahon, the chairman of the World Wrestling Federation, whose new football league, the XFL, debuts in February.

     On Wednesday, McMahon introduced Butkus as the head coach of Chicago's XFL team.

     "Dick Butkus is the personification of the XFL," said McMahon, whose league doesn't have any other coaches and whose Chicago franchise doesn't yet have a name.

     Butkus, the Hall of Fame Chicago Bears linebacker, was still wearing the familiar buzz cut that reminds longtime Bears fans of one of the most ferocious players in NFL history.

     He had McMahon beaming with his talk about body parts -- guts and heart. And Butkus had him positively glowing when talked about the tough-guy football he promised his team would play.

     "We're gonna have people hitting people if I can help it," Butkus said.

     Butkus, who turned to acting after he retired from football in 1973, has spent a lot more time on "Fantasy Island" and in "Night Court" and pitching Miller Lite than worrying about passes and blitzes in recent years.

     But Butkus seemed unconcerned about the fact that he hasn't "coached in awhile, or at all."

     "How difficult is it?" Butkus said. "You just get the guys there and demand (they) work hard and let the chips fall where they may."

     As for his own time commitment, Butkus said he has completed taping his Saturday morning TV show, "Hang Time." He guessed he'd be done with any other non-XFL duties by about November.

     Coaching "is not going to be a mail-in type deal," he said.

     Nor, apparently, is it going to take a round-the-clock commitment.

     "I don't believe that we have to sleep in our offices to get our work done," he said. "But we're going to put in a good effort."



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