101 Days of BC Football: Defensive Coordinator Bill McGovern


Defensive coaches at Boston College tend to stick around for a while, if the head coach is any indication. When it comes to his defensive coordinator, however, we’ve found someone who actually showed up on the Heights before him. That’s Bill McGovern, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.

McGovern’s football career ended in 1984 after four seasons playing in the secondary for another Massachusetts Jesuit school and former rival, Holy Cross. As a Crusader, he was a first-team All-American, and is currently in the Holy Cross Hall of Fame. Right after graduating in 1985, McGovern, a New Jersey native, got his first job from the University of Pennsylvania as a coach for the freshmen.

A year later, he went back up to Worcester to serve as the assistant defensive backs coach at the Cross for the 1986 and 1987 seasons. Most of his career from then on kept him within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as he went west to Amherst as DB coach from 1987 to 1990, back to Holy Cross as the DB and kicking coach in 1991 and 1992, to UMass again as defensive coordinator through 1993, and then finally out to Boston College in 1994. His first Eagle stint came under Dan Henning, where he coached defensive backs through Henning’s tenure.

When Tom O’Brien arrived in 1997, McGovern was out. He would spend the next three seasons at Big East rival Pittsburgh before O’Brien brought him back for the 2000 season. McGovern has been here ever since, serving as linebacker coach through 2008 and being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2009. He has served under the last four Boston College head coaches: Henning, O’Brien, Jagodzinski, and Spaziani.

Under his tenure as defensive coordinator, McGovern has done a respectable job. Between his defense and the offense, McGovern’s unit has been the far superior of the two since 2009, though the 2011 edition was a little more ordinary overall. McGovern has helped coach up a squad that led the nation in rush defense in 2010 and produced one of the best defensive players in Boston College history, Luke Kuechly.

McGovern has not done badly here, but the secondary will have to be a point of emphasis for this former defensive back. The Eagles were sub-par against the pass last season and, especially considering the Al Louis-Jean injury, have depth issues in the backfield.