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Football Names Bill McGovern Defensive Coordinator

Feb 17, 2022

LOS ANGELES -- UCLA head football coach Chip Kelly announced Thursday the hiring of Bill McGovern as defensive coordinator. McGovern, an All-American defensive back as a collegian, joins the Bruins staff with almost 40 years of college and NFL coaching experience under his belt. He heads to Westwood after serving most recently as inside linebackers coach for the Chicago Bears in 2021.

Eight of McGovern's last nine years have been spent on the professional level. McGovern's work came exclusively on the college level in the years prior, including a 13-year stretch at Boston College, where he served as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Eagles during that time.

In 2021, the Bears defense rated third in passing defense (191.6 yards per game), fourth in sacks (49) and sixth in total defense (316.7 yards per game). Inside linebacker Roquan Smith ranked fifth in the league with a career-best 163 total tackles.

Prior to serving as a defensive assistant at the University of Nebraska for the 2020 campaign, McGovern worked for seven seasons with the New York Giants (2016-19) and Philadelphia Eagles (2013-15). He coached the inside linebackers for the Giants in 2019 after guiding the full linebackers unit from 2016-18. The 2016 Giants defense ranked second in the NFL in total defense and third in run defense (88.6 yards per game). From 2013-15, he coached the outside linebackers on Kelly's Eagles teams. In 2015, outside linebacker Connor Barwin was named to the NFL Pro Bowl. The 2014 Eagles owned the 15th-best run defense in the NFL. In 2013, Philadelphia was the NFC East champion and produced the 10th-best run defense (104.3 yards per game) in the NFL and was rated as the 17th-best total defensive unit in the league.

Before heading to the NFL, McGovern coached from 2000-2012 at Boston College (2009-2012 as defensive coordinator/linebackers coach and 2000-08 as linebackers coach). The Eagles advanced to a bowl game in each of his first 11 seasons on the Heights, compiling an 8-3 record in those postseason contests. From 2001-08, BC defeated Notre Dame six straight times. The Eagles, who soared to as high as No. 2 in the national polls, posted a school-record-tying 11 wins during the 2007 season, which was the program's most victories since the 1940 campaign. He also coached BC's defensive backs from 1994-96.

During his tenure at BC, McGovern mentored two Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Defensive Players of the Year in Luke Kuechly (2011) and Mark Herzlich (2008). Kuechly set a Boston College career mark for most tackles in a career (532) and an NCAA record for most average tackles per game over a career (14.0). Kuechly also set an ACC record for most tackles in a season (191) and went on to win the Butkus Award, the Rotary Lombardi Award, the Bronko Nagurski Award and the Lott IMPACT Trophy that season. Both players earned first-team All-ACC honors and went on to successful NFL careers. Defensive lineman B.J. Raji (2009) and Kuechly (2012) each became first-round NFL draft choices. Kuechly, Herzlich, linebacker Vinny Ciurciu (2001, 2002), linebacker Robert Flores (2001-03) and linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar (2005-07) all went on to make Super Bowl appearances for their respective NFL teams.

While McGovern was coaching on BC's defensive staff, the teams won at least nine games in six seasons and ranked among the nation's top 10 nationally in rush defense four times (2005, 2007, 2008, 2010). Boston College rated among the nation's top 25 in scoring defense on nine occasions (1994, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009) and in pass defense efficiency for eight of those seasons (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010). The 2008 Eagles defensive unit ranked fifth in the NCAA in total defense (268.14 yards per game) and was seventh in the nation in both pass defense efficiency (98.81) and run defense (91.2 yards per game) while rating among the nation's top 10 in seven defensive categories overall. In 2010, the BC defense rated as the 13th-best total defense group in the NCAA, surrendering an average of 309.69 yards per contest. In 10 of his seasons at BC (1994, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010), McGovern was associated with defenses which allowed fewer than 350 yards per game. Boston College won ACC Atlantic Division titles in both the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

From 1997-99, McGovern coached defensive backs at the University of Pittsburgh after his initial stint at Boston College. Pitt advanced to the Liberty Bowl in 1997 and, in 1999, the Panthers defeated Notre Dame in Pitt Stadium's final game. His 1994 BC squad ranked 28th in the nation in pass defense efficiency (108.35) while giving up just 14.7 points per game and rating sixth in the nation in total defense (266.1 yards per game). In 1993, McGovern served as defensive coordinator at the University of Massachusetts. The Minutemen rated 23rd nationally in rush defense (131.8 yards per game) and were 35th in total defense (323.6 yards per game) that season while going on to post an 8-3 record.

McGovern worked as defensive backs coach and kicking coach at the College of the Holy Cross in 1991 and 1992. The 1992 Holy Cross team ranked third in the nation in total defense (275.1 yards per game). In 1991, Holy Cross emerged as the Patriot League champions and was ranked No. 3 in the NCAA Division I-AA Football Committee poll. Prior to that, he served an initial stint at UMass as defensive backs coach from 1988-1990. UMass captured Yankee Conference titles in 1988 and 1990 and advanced each of those seasons to the Division I-AA playoffs. McGovern was assistant defensive backs coach at Holy Cross in 1986 and 1987. The Crusaders captured Colonial League titles in both seasons and posted a combined 21-1 record. He embarked on his coaching career in 1985 as University of Pennsylvania freshman coach. The 1986 Penn team went on to earn a 10-0 record and the Ivy League championship.

A member of the Holy Cross Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor, McGovern set a Division I-AA single-season record with 11 interceptions as a senior in 1984. His total of 24 career interceptions while a four-year starter at defensive back for the Crusaders tied a Division I-AA record. His teams combined to record a 31-13-1 mark and made the school's first appearance in the Division I-AA playoffs. McGovern was named a consensus first-team All-American in 1984 and was a two-time Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference first-team selection. He is currently listed on the ballot as a candidate for the College Football Hall of Fame.

McGovern is a 1985 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross where he earned his degree in history. He and wife, Colleen, have three children – Amanda, Delainey and Mackenzie.