LAKE FOREST — The Bears are among a few teams in both professional and college football who are mourning the death of a longtime assistant coach early this week.
Bill McGovern, who was serving as an administrative assistant with UCLA, has died at the age of 60 after a battle with cancer, the school announced on Monday. He had been hired as the Bruins’ defensive coordinator in 2022 but stepped away from that role as he battled the disease.
Among a few stops in his career in the pro and college game was Chicago as McGovern served as the Bears’ inside linebackers coach during the 2021 season. He was hired after the team promoted Sean Desai to defensive coordinator following Chuck Pagano’s retirement early that year.
McGovern served one year in that role on Matt Nagy’s staff but wasn’t retained when the head coach was fired in January 2022.
A native of Oradell, New Jersey, McGovern played football at Holy Cross before starting his career at Penn as a freshman coach in 1985. He’d then serve as a defensive assistant or defensive coordinator at Holy Cross, UMass, Boston College, and Pittsburgh before getting his first NFL job with the Eagles in 2013.
An outside linebackers coach in Philadelphia for three seasons, McGovern joined the Giants in 2016 and would serve as a defensive assistant for the next four seasons. When he was let go after the firing of head coach Pat Shurmur, he returned to college to join Scott Frost’s staff at Nebraska for the 2020 season as a defensive assistant.
That’s when McGovern came to Chicago for what would be his final season as a professional football coach.