Bill McGovern, Chip Kelly’s linebackers coach with Eagles, dead at 60
Bill McGovern, one of Chip Kellys most trusted assistant coaches both with the Eagles and at UCLA, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer, UCLA announced.
He was 60.
McGovern, who grew up in North Jersey and played high school football at Bergen Catholic in Oradell, went on to become a star defensive back at Holy Cross and in 1984 set an NCAA Division 2 single-season record with 11 interceptions. He also tied a D-2 record with 24 career INTs.
He began his coaching career in 1985 with the freshman team at Penn under Jerry Berndt before stops at Holy Cross, the University of Massachusetts, Boston College and Pitt, and in 2013 Kelly hired him outside linebackers coach as he put together his initial staff.
Kelly and McGovern had known each other since the 1980s when they both played for New England colleges Kelly at New Hampshire and McGovern at Holy Cross.
McGovern spent three years with Kelly with the Eagles before stints with the Giants and the University of Nebraska. In 2021, Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai now the Eagles defensive coordinator hired McGovern as inside linebackers coach.
Also on Matt Nagy’s Bears staff that year were former Kelly assistants Bill Lazor and John DeFilippo as well as former Andy Reid assistants Juan Castillo and Bill Shuey.
McGovern reunited with Kelly at UCLA last year as defensive coordinator but moved to an administrative position during the second half of the year as he fought cancer.
Brandon Graham spoke highly of McGovern when he converted to outside linebacker during the Kelly / Bill Davis years.
What he does a great job of is he keeps reminding me, What are you thinking for your next pass-rush move or the next set or the next drive? Graham told the Inquirer in 2015. You have to switch it up as a pass rusher. You cant be predictable.
McGovern coached Conestoga High graduate Mark Herzlich at Boston College from 2009 through 2011 and became a mentor for Herzlich, who overcame bone cancer to play in the NFL for seven years. McGovern later coached Herzlich on Pat Shurmurs Giants staff.
He really cares about his players as men, Herzlich told the Inquirer in 2013. And that is sometimes tough to find in the football environment because everyones looking at win-win-win.
UCLA cornerback Devin Kirkwood said this about McGovern in a story in the L.A. Times early last season: He just lets me be me. Hes just helped me express my game in ways I wasnt able to last year, so now when I demonstrate it, it just looks like poetry.
McGovern is a member of the Holy Cross Hall of Fame. McGovern is on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023 induction class.
McGovern is survived by his wife Colleen and daughters Amanda, Delainey and Mackenzie.