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Former UCLA football defensive coordinator Bill McGovern dies at age 60

Former UCLA football defensive coordinator Bill McGovern stands on the practice field. He died Tuesday morning, the program announced. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Sam Settleman

May 30, 2023 12:25 p.m.

This post was updated May 31 at 10:46 p.m.

Former UCLA football defensive coordinator Bill McGovern died Tuesday morning at age 60, the program announced.

“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.

McGovern joined the Bruins as defensive coordinator in February 2022, but he ultimately missed much of the end of the 2022 season because of health concerns.

When UCLA hired new defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn in February, it announced that McGovern would remain with the team as its director of football administration.

Prior to spending a year in Westwood, McGovern enjoyed nearly 40 years of coaching at both the collegiate and NFL levels. He served as the defensive coordinator at both Boston College and the University of Massachusetts before spending time as a linebackers coach for the Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants across almost a decade in the NFL.

McGovern was a four-year starter at defensive back for Holy Cross from 1981-1984 before immediately beginning his coaching career. He is a candidate to enter the College Football Hall of Fame. 

“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,” his family said in the statement. “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.”

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Sam Settleman | Sports editor
Settleman is currently the Sports editor on the football, men's basketball and gymnastics beats. He was previously an assistant editor on the gymnastics, women's soccer, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats and a contributor on the gymnastics and women's water polo beats.
Settleman is currently the Sports editor on the football, men's basketball and gymnastics beats. He was previously an assistant editor on the gymnastics, women's soccer, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats and a contributor on the gymnastics and women's water polo beats.
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