Former Vikings coach Brad Childress was named head coach of the Atlanta franchise in the Alliance of American Football last April, despite the fact the new league would not begin play until February of 2019.
Childress had retired following the 2017 season after having worked under Andy Reid with the Kansas City Chiefs, only to quickly unretire and join new Bears coach Matt Nagy in Chicago. Childress and Nagy had worked together with the Chiefs and Childress is an Illinois native. But when the AAF came calling with an opportunity Childress decided to take that job.
He held it until Wednesday. That’s when he decided to step down only a month before the season begins. The Legends replaced him with Kevin Coyle, who coached in the NFL for 17 seasons.
“Coach Childress has stepped away from his role as head coach of the Atlanta Legends,” AAF head of football operations J.K. McKay said in a statement. “We are grateful for his leadership, contribution to building The Alliance, and wish him well in his next endeavor.”
There was speculation early Wednesday that Childress might have stepped down because he was planning to join his former coaching assistant Kevin Stefanski in Cleveland. Stefanski, who joined Childress’ staff when he was hired as the Vikings coach in 2006, had two interviews for the Browns’ head coaching job but did not end up getting the position.
Instead, the Browns reportedly will hire Freddie Kitchens. Stefanski, meanwhile, was named the Vikings’ offensive coordinator on Wednesday after serving as the team’s quarterbacks coach and then the interim offensive coordinator for the final three games of the season after John DeFilippo was fired.
So why did Childress step down in what would have been his first head coaching job since being fired by the Vikings during the 2010 season?
This is the statement the Legends released from their now former head coach:
“I’ve been fortunate to work with many great players and coaches throughout my years in football — including those at The Alliance. Throughout it all, my biggest supporters have always been my family. I have an amazing wife, four kids, four grandchildren and am still lucky enough to have my parents around. For now, I need to refocus. I’m looking forward to spending time with them and supporting them as they’ve done so for me. Equally, I’m excited to root for each and every player that now has another opportunity to get out and play professional football with The Alliance. The Atlanta Legends are in great hands with Kevin Coyle at the helm.”
Atlanta will open its season on Feb. 9 at Orlando.