Bill McGovern Obituary, Former UCLA Defensive Coordinator Passes Away at 60

The football community mourns the loss of Bill McGovern, a highly regarded coach known for his extensive experience in both college and professional football. McGovern, who served as the defensive coordinator for the UCLA Bruins, passed away at the age of 60 after battling cancer. In this article, we remember his remarkable journey, his accomplishments, and the impact he had on the teams he coached.

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Early Life and Playing Career

Born on December 31, 1962, in Oradell, New Jersey, Bill McGovern had a passion for football from a young age. He attended Bergen Catholic High School, where he showcased his talent and helped lead the Crusaders to a state championship. McGovern’s outstanding skills as a defensive back earned him a spot on The Record’s All-Century team. He continued his football journey at the College of the Holy Cross, setting records with his remarkable interceptions and earning recognition as a consensus first-team Division I-AA All-American.

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Coaching Career and Achievements

After his playing days, McGovern embarked on a successful coaching career that spanned nearly four decades. He began as a coach at Pennsylvania and later returned to Holy Cross, where he served as an assistant defensive backs coach and defensive backs coach. McGovern continued to build his reputation at various institutions, including Massachusetts, Boston College, and Pittsburgh, where he honed his skills and developed players’ talents.

McGovern’s most notable tenure was at Boston College, where he spent 13 years from 2000 to 2012. Initially serving as the linebackers coach, he later earned the position of defensive coordinator. During his time at Boston College, McGovern worked with promising talents such as Mark Herzlich and Luke Kuechly, both of whom went on to have successful careers in the NFL.

In 2013, McGovern made the leap to the NFL, joining the Philadelphia Eagles as the outside linebackers coach under Chip Kelly’s leadership. He later transitioned to the New York Giants, where he continued to make a significant impact on the team’s defense. McGovern’s wealth of knowledge and expertise led him to a coaching role with the Chicago Bears before returning to the college ranks as the defensive coordinator for the UCLA Bruins in 2022.

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The Battle with Cancer and Legacy

While serving as UCLA’s defensive coordinator, McGovern faced a personal battle with cancer. Despite his illness, he remained committed to his role and the improvement of the Bruins’ defense. However, his health forced him to step away temporarily, and the defense experienced setbacks in his absence. McGovern made a valiant return for the Sun Bowl, but the Bruins narrowly lost after a late field goal.

On May 30, 2023, at the age of 60, Bill McGovern passed away peacefully at his Southern California home, surrounded by loved ones. His untimely death leaves a void in the football community, as he was admired for his coaching acumen, mentorship, and dedication to the sport.


Bill McGovern’s impact on the football world will not be forgotten. His coaching expertise, remarkable achievements, and passion for the game will continue to inspire both current and future generations of players and coaches. As the football community mourns his loss, we remember the legacy he leaves behind and the lasting contributions he made to the teams he served. Rest in peace, Coach McGovern.

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