Most players would be a bit skeptical about having a first-time NFL coach telling them what to do, especially if the coach wasn’t a well-known former NFL player. The Philadelphia Eagles linebackers need not have such concerns about new coach Bill McGovern.
A New Jersey Native, McGovern is the right man for the job with an incredible football pedigree. A former All-American defensive back at Holy Cross, he set a Division 1AA record with 24 interceptions. McGovern has 27 years of college coaching experience, all on the defensive side of the ball. He has been a defensive back, linebacker coach or defensive coordinator his whole career.
With the NFL being a pass-happy league for some time now, McGovern is the perfect man for the job. His defensive back roots have always forced him to put extra emphasis on the pass game. His players are always known for making big plays in the passing game as he continually instills the understanding of how an offense is trying to attack his players.
Having spent most of his collegiate coaching career at Boston College, McGovern has turned some of the most underrated prospects into NFL talent. McGovern has coached Luke Kuechly, a safety at the high school level, and helped Kuechly become arguably the most accomplished linebacker in CFB history. In 2012, the Carolina Panthers took Kuechly in the first round with the ninth-overall selection.
McGovern also transformed current New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich from a high school Lacrosse star into the ACC Defensive Player of the year. Herzlich also received All-American Honors in 2008 before he was stricken with Ewings Sarcoma, which forced him to miss the 2009 season. Consequently, his first-round stock as a player plummeted, forcing him to make the team as a free agent.
McGovern has also coached St. Louis Rams‘ second leading tackler last season, JoLonn Dunbar. Dunbar rose to stardom after starting his college career as a running back. He was quickly convinced by McGovern that linebacker best suited his abilities, and became a two-year captain and two-time All-ACC selection. Dunbar won a Super Bowl trophy in his rookie season with the New Orleans Saints in 2008, praising McGovern as the biggest influence in his football career.
The NFL is where McGovern belongs. He is a cerebral coach, a master motivator and a true X’s and O’s kind of guy, leaving no stone unturned in preparation for games. It will be interesting to see how the Eagles’ season turns out. One thing is for certain: McGovern will have his players ready to take charge of the NFC East.