Longtime college football, NFL assistant Bill McGovern dies at age 60

The family disclosed Tuesday that McGovern had cancer

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 22: A UCLA Bruins helmet sits on a sideline equipment box during a PAC-12 Conference college football game between the UCLA Bruins and Oregon Ducks on October 22, 2022 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
UCLA assistant coach Bill McGovern died on Tuesday at age 60. (Photo by Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Longtime college and NFL assistant coach Bill McGovern has died. He was 60 years old.

McGovern, who died Tuesday morning at his California home surrounded by family, spent the last year at UCLA where he was hired in early 2022 as the Bruins’ defensive coordinator. However, McGovern was away from the team for much of the 2022 season due to undisclosed health issues. The family disclosed Tuesday that McGovern had cancer.

"Early this 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,” the McGovern family said in a statement. “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.”

McGovern was an All-American defensive back at Holy Cross before he embarked on a lengthy coaching career. He had stints at Penn, Holy Cross and UMass before working as the defensive backs coach at Boston College and Pittsburgh during the '90s. After three seasons at Pitt, McGovern returned to Boston College where he coached for more than a decade. He first served as BC’s linebackers coach before a four-year run as defensive coordinator.

When Kelly became the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013, he hired McGovern as his outside linebackers coach. McGovern spent three seasons with the Eagles and then had a four-year run coaching linebackers for the New York Giants. From there, he spent one season at Nebraska and another with the Chicago Bears before reuniting with Kelly at UCLA.

Following his season as defensive coordinator, McGovern transitioned into the role of director of football administration for the UCLA program before his death.

“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 family statement said. “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."