Longtime former college football and NFL assistant Bill McGovern died Tuesday following a battle with cancer, UCLA announced. McGovern served as UCLA's defensive coordinator in 2022, but missed the second half of the season due to health issues. He with the program earlier this year. McGovern was 60 years old.
"Early [Tuesday] morning we said goodbye to our beloved father and husband Bill after his long and difficult battle with cancer came to an end and today, 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," a statement from McGovern's family, issued through UCLA's athletic department, read. "In particular, the McGovern family would like to thank UCLA head football coach Chip Kelly and his wife Jill, as well as all of the players, coaches, trainers, and support staff of the UCLA football program and their families. 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.
"We are so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such a historic athletic tradition and, more importantly, 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. Thank you so much and we will cherish the wonderful memories we have of UCLA and our UCLA football family for the rest of our lives."
McGovern was an All-American defensive back at Holy Cross in the early 1980s. His college coaching career began as an assistant at Pennsylvania in 1985 and spanned more than three decades with stops at Holy Cross, UMass, Boston College, Pittsburgh and Nebraska before later joining Kelly's UCLA staff last season after stints in the NFL.
McGovern first entered the NFL coaching ranks in 2013, when he was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles -- then under Kelly -- as linebackers coach. He remained in that role through 2015 before coaching linebackers with the New York Giants from 2016-19. After one year as a defensive assistant at Nebraska as a defensive assistant in 2020, McGovern returned to the NFL as the Chicago Bears inside linebackers coach in 2021.
McGovern is survived by his wife, Colleen, and three daughters; Amanda, Delainey and Mackenzie. He is listed on the ballot for this College Football Hall of Fame class.