Bill McGovern, UCLA DC in 2022, dies after cancer diagnosis

ByPaolo Uggetti ESPN logo
Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Longtime college and NFL defensive coach Bill McGovern, who worked as UCLA'sdefensive coordinator last season, died after being diagnosed with cancer, the school announced Tuesday. He was 60.

"Early this morning we said goodbye to our beloved father and husband Bill after his long and difficult battle with cancer came to an end," the McGovern family said in a statement released by the school. "We would like to thank the entire UCLA community for all of the love and support you gave to Bill and our entire family during this very difficult struggle"

McGovern, who was an All-America defensive back at Holy Crossin the 1980s, was hired by Bruins head coach Chip Kelly in February 2022. Earlier this year, McGovern stepped back from coaching duties and took on a different role as director of football administration due to his declining health. UCLA hired D'Anton Lynn to replace him as defensive coordinator.

"It was the honor of Bill's coaching career to be the defensive coordinator for the UCLA Bruins and this past season was one of the highlights of Bill's coaching career," the McGovern family said in their statement. "We could not have made it through this past year without the love and prayers of our UCLA family. The McGovern family is so grateful and thankful to all of you for your help during this difficult time and we will be indebted to you all forever."

Prior to joining Kelly's staff in Westwood, McGovern had spent a year as the inside linebackers coach for the Chicago Bears. In total, McGovern accrued nine years of NFL coaching experience as a linebackers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2013 to 2015 and the New York Giants from 2016 to 2019.

Most of McGovern's experience, however, came in the college ranks. His longest stint was at Boston College, where he worked as the defensive backs coach from 1994 to 1996, the linebackers coach from 2000 to 2008 and then the defensive coordinator from 2009 to 2012. During his time at the program, McGovern coached players such as Mark Herzlich, Luke Kuechly, B.J. Raji and Brian Flores.

McGovern also had coaching stints at his alma mater Holy Cross, UMass, Pittsburghand, most recently, as Nebraska'sdefensive assistant in 2020. He is currently listed on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame.

McGovern is survived by his wife, Colleen, and daughters Amanda, Delainey and Mackenzie.