UCLA reportedly set to hire longtime NFL assistant Bill McGovern as next DC
After weeks of speculation over who Chip Kelly would tap to be his next defensive coordinator at UCLA, it appears as if he has found his guy.
According to multiple reports from Bruin Report Online and later Football Scoop, Kelly is expected to name Bill McGovern to his staff. The Los Angeles Times’ Ben Bolch reported Wednesday that the expectation is for Kelly to announce his next DC within the week, though UCLA has yet to publicly announce the departure of Jerry Azzinaro, who resigned last month.
McGovern spent the 2021 season coaching inside linebackers for the Chicago Bears at the professional level. Most of his coaching experience is at the collegiate level, though he has spent eight of the last nine seasons in the NFL.
The defensive coordinator at Boston College from 2009-12, McGovern was Kelly’s pick to coach outside linebackers for the Philadelphia Eagles when Kelly jumped from Oregon to the pros. He served on the Eagles staff through the 2015 season and then joined the New York Giants, where he was the team’s linebacker coach through the 2019 season.
McGovern got his start coaching at Pennsylvania in 1985. He spent the better part of the next two decades at the college level. He served two stints at his alma mater, Holy Cross, from 1986-87 and then 1991-92. From 1988 to 1990, he coached at Massachusetts, returning in 1993 after leaving Holy Cross. In 1994, he landed at Boston College for his first stint with the Eagles.
He spent three seasons there before moving to Pittsburgh, where he spent another three seasons.
In 2000, McGovern returned to BC, where he coached until he left for Philly. He coached linebackers until 2009 when he was also given the defensive coordinator tag.
Perhaps his most notable former players, McGovern helped develop All-American linebackers Mark Herzlich and Luke Kuechly while at BC.
His hire will fill out UCLA’s defensive staff for the upcoming season. Outside linebackers coach Ikaika Malloe and defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a Have also come aboard this offseason, joining defensive backs coach Brian Norwood and inside ‘backers coach Don Pellum.
According to Bruin Report Online, McGovern is expected to sign a two-year, $1.8 million deal. Azzinaro made $750,000 annually.
McGovern will be expected to improve a UCLA defense right away that has largely underperformed during Kelly’s tenure. In 2018, Kelly’s first season with the program, the Bruin defense ranked 95th nationally in yards per play. They dropped to 123rd in 2019, nearly a full yard worse than the year prior. They improved to 43rd nationally in 2020, but as the offense took a step forward, the defense took a slight step back to rank 59th nationally.
The key area will be pass-rush, and the McGovern’s job got harder Wednesday with an entry into the transfer portal from edge rusher Mitchell Agude.