Who is John McVay?
John Edward McVay is an erstwhile American football coach and administrative person best recognised for his National Football League (NFL) coaching career. He played college football in Center position at Miami University. His career as football coach saw him moving up the rung from high school coaching to college level and finally to the NFL. He remained coach at different Ohio high schools, served as assistant coach at Michigan State University and as head coach at University of Dayton. During first season of World Football League (WFL), he remained head coach of Memphis Southmen. He remained associated with NFL’s New York Giants, initially as an assistant coach and later replaced Bill Arnsparger to become head coach of the team. A few years later McVay joined San Francisco 49ers in an administrative position. This saw him collaborating with head coach Bill Walsh. McVay presided over five Super Bowl-winning seasons as vice president/director of football operations of 49ers. He retired from 49ers after 1 ½ decades and later re-joined the team as its General Manager. His achievements include becoming NFL Executive of the Year in 1989. His grandson Sean McVay presently serves as head coach of NFL’s Los Angeles Rams.
Childhood & Early Life
John McVay was born on January 5, 1931 in Bellaire, Ohio in the family of John A. McVay and Helen (Andrews) McVay.
He attended college at the Miami University and earned a degree in Bachelor of Science in Education in 1953. While there he played football for the Miami Redskins (presently known as Miami RedHawks football) in the position of Center between 1950 and 1952. He was included in the First-team All-MAC in 1952.
He later obtained a Master of Arts degree in School Administration from Kent (Ohio) State University, in 1963.
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Early coaching career of McVay saw him serving different high schools in Ohio. These include serving as assistant coach in the secondary-level public high school Lancaster High School in Lancaster, Ohio from 1953 to 1955. In 1956 he became head coach of the public high school called ‘Franklin High School’ in Franklin, Ohio.
From 1957 to 1961 he served as head coach of the Perry Township, Ohio based private, Catholic coeducational diocesan high school called ‘Central Catholic High School’.
From 1959 to 1962, he remained Executive Director of Catholic Youth Council, Canton, Ohio.
In 1962 he joined Michigan State University. There he served as an assistant coach for the Michigan State Spartans football till 1964. The following year he was inducted as head coach of the Dayton Flyers of the University of Dayton. He served in the capacity till 1972. He also served as Athletic Director of Dayton during 1972–1973. His overall head coaching record at high school level stands at 41–7–2 while that in college level is 37–41–4.
In 1974, he was appointed head coach of American football team Memphis Southmen during first season of the short-lived American football league called World Football League. McVay garnered a record of 24-7 at Memphis before the league ceased to operate in 1975, half-way through its second season. During 1974–1975 he also remained General Manager of the team.
In 1976, he became an assistant coach of the professional American football team ‘New York Giants’ that compete in the National Football League (NFL). After head coach Bill Arnsparger was fired at mid-season, McVay stepped in as new head coach of the team.
He strived with a franchise in transition from 1976 to 1978. The roster of ‘New York Giants’ included three rookie quarterbacks during first NFL season of McVay. On November 19, 1978, the team faced a historic loss against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Giants Stadium. Such loss is widely regarded as the reason why McVay’s contract was not renewed following 1978 season of the NFL. His overall head coaching record with the league is 14–23.
In 1980 he became Vice President of the professional American football team San Francisco 49ers that compete in the NFL and served such position till 1994. Such tenure marked his collaboration with head coach Bill Walsh. McVay presided over five Super Bowl-winning seasons in his capacity as vice president/director of football operations. Meanwhile in 1989 he was honoured as NFL Executive of the Year.
In 1996 he retired from San Francisco 49ers. A couple of years later, in 1998, when Eddie DeBartolo Jr. got involved in a corruption investigation and was suspended from active control of the team for a year resulting in his sister, Denise, and brother-in-law Dr. John York taking over the team’s operations, McVay returned to San Francisco 49ers as General Manager. He served the position till 1999.
American publisher Marquis Who's Who listed him as a noted professional football club executive.
Family & Personal Life
McVay has three sons from his marriage with Eva Lee, namely John McVay, Tim McVay and Jim McVay. Tim’s son Sean McVay has also become an American football coach and is presently serving as head coach of Los Angeles Rams. Sean became the youngest head coach in history of modern NFL at 30 years of age when he was inducted by the Rams in 2017. He also achieved the feats of becoming the youngest person to receive the AP NFL Coach of the Year award and also the youngest head coach in history to serve as coach in a Super Bowl game.