Invoice McGovern, former UCLA soccer defensive coordinator battling most cancers, dies at 60


Even after his well being deteriorated, sidelining him for almost half a season, Invoice McGovern yearned to remain across the gamers who rejuvenated him and the sport that had been a lifelong love.

He returned from a five-game absence to educate UCLA’s protection within the Solar Bowl final December, eagerly asserting that he “completely” anticipated to be the Bruins’ defensive coordinator in 2023. When McGovern’s well being points compelled him right into a much less demanding function as director of soccer administration, he remained an everyday at spring practices, his presence an emblem of perseverance.

On Tuesday, having fought an undisclosed type of most cancers to the very finish, McGovern succumbed whereas surrounded by household at his Southern California house. He was 60.

“It was the consideration of Invoice’s teaching profession to be the defensive coordinator for the UCLA Bruins, and this previous season was one of many highlights of Invoice’s teaching profession,” McGovern’s household stated in a press release. “We’re so grateful for the chance to be part of such a historic athletic custom and, extra importantly, we couldn’t have made it by this previous yr with out the love and prayers of our UCLA household.”

Beloved for his self-deprecating humor and deep information of the sport, McGovern instantly related with gamers a fraction of his age throughout his one season because the Bruins’ defensive coordinator.

“He simply lets me be me,” cornerback Devin Kirkwood stated in August. “He’s simply helped me categorical my sport in methods I wasn’t capable of do final yr, so now after I exhibit it, it simply appears to be like like poetry.”

McGovern’s time at UCLA was the ultimate vacation spot in a prolonged teaching profession that included a stint as Boston Faculty’s defensive coordinator and a number of other stops within the NFL. A longtime acquaintance of UCLA coach Chip Kelly, the duo first related when McGovern labored as Kelly’s outdoors linebackers coach with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2013-15 earlier than taking comparable jobs with the New York Giants and Chicago Bears.

Intrigued by McGovern’s NFL expertise and understanding of superior cross protection ideas, Kelly employed him in February 2022 to exchange Jerry Azzinaro with hopes of reviving a protection that had been abysmal since Kelly’s arrival in Westwood.

The early returns had been promising. McGovern presided over a protection that gave up 25.9 factors over seven video games, serving to the Bruins go 6-1 whereas rising as excessive as No. 9 within the nationwide rankings.

His absence over the ultimate 5 video games of the common season coincided with important backsliding, UCLA giving up a median of 31.8 factors per sport. That regression continued upon McGovern’s return, the Bruins surrendering 20 unanswered factors throughout a 37-35 loss to Pittsburgh within the Solar Bowl.

Two months later, McGovern agreed to maneuver into the executive function when UCLA employed D’Anton Lynn as his alternative at defensive coordinator.

Born in Oradell, N.J., on Dec. 31, 1962, McGovern turned a star defensive again at Holy Cross who set a Division I-AA single-season document with 11 interceptions as a senior in 1984. A yr later he commenced his teaching profession as Penn’s freshman coach. His best success got here throughout a 13-year run at Boston Faculty, the place he rose from defensive backs coach to defensive coordinator.

The Eagles certified for a bowl sport in every of his first 11 seasons on the faculty, and he assembled a unit that rose as excessive as No. 13 within the nation in complete protection in 2010 earlier than experiencing a precipitous decline over his final two seasons. Alongside the way in which, McGovern coached two Atlantic Coast Convention defensive gamers of the yr in Mark Herzlich (2008) and Luke Kuechly (2011) whereas creating a repute for meticulous preparation.

“I had 12 interceptions all through my profession, which is nearly extraordinary for a linebacker,” Herzlich, who additionally spent two seasons taking part in for McGovern within the NFL with the Giants, advised The Occasions in August, “however that’s as a result of we knew what the opposite group was going to do.”

McGovern is survived by his spouse, Colleen, and daughters Amanda, Delainey and Mackenzie. Companies are pending.


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