Childhood & Early Life
Thomas Richard Coughlin was born on August 31, 1946, in Waterloo, New York City, to Betty and John Louis Coughlin. He grew up in a huge family, among six siblings: one brother and five sisters. He was the oldest of all the siblings.
Ever since he was a kid, he was interested in the prospect of becoming an athlete, and his favourite sports were basketball and football, which he played during his early school years.
He attended ‘Lyons High School’ and became interested in forging a career in football.
The assistant coach at ‘Syracuse University’ saw Tom playing and offered him a scholarship in exchange for playing in the school’s team. He had Jim Boeheim as his advisor during his college years, and although he was good at playing, too, he expressed more interest in working “behind the scenes.”
Following his college graduation, he pursued a master’s degree from ‘Syracuse University’ and worked as a graduate assistant.
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Tom began his coaching career when he was hired as the head coach of the ‘Rochester Institute of Technology’s football team in 1970. Following a 3-year tenure there, he returned to ‘Syracuse University’ and began working as an offensive coordinator. He worked at the same position later at the ‘Boston College.’
In 1980, he moved on from the collegiate level and joined ‘NFL’ as a wide receivers coach with the ‘Philadelphia Eagles.’ He later worked as a wide receivers coach with ‘New York Giants’ and the ‘Green Bay Packers,’ too.
While he worked as a coach with the ‘New York Giants,’ he also assisted the then-head coach, Bill Parcells. Together, they helped the team secure a win at the ‘Super Bowl XXV.’
He stayed with the ‘Giants’ until the 1990 season, following which he returned to ‘Boston College’ to serve as the head coach of the team. In the first 3 years that he worked there, he became one of the most successful coaches of the team. For the very first time, ‘Boston’ defeated ‘Notre Dame,’ the then-number-one team. It was a huge success story, which made Tom a big name in entry-level coaching.
It paid off smartly in 1995, when Tom was hired as the first head coach of the ‘NFL’ expansion team ‘Jacksonville Jaguars.’ Tom forged the most successful expansion team in the history of ‘NFL’ during his 8-year tenure there as the head coach. ‘United Press International’ named him the ‘Coach of the Year’ for the year 1996. He led his underdog team to several ‘NFL’ playoffs.
He led his team to win 49 regular season games during the first 5 years of his tenure. However, in the next few years, the team’s performance deteriorated dramatically. He was subsequently fired by the team’s owner, Wayne Weaver. When Wayne later sold his team to Shahid Khan, he went on record to say that the biggest regret of his career was to fire Tom.
Tom stayed away from football in 2003. The following year, he made a grand comeback as the head coach of one of the most popular ‘NFL’ teams, the ‘New York Giants.’ He had taken over the ruins of the team that had performed miserably in the 2003–2004 season.
In the 2004 season, Tom led his team to victory in five games out of the first seven games that the team played. When the team faced a losing streak, Tom took some bold decisions, which also invited a lot of criticism. However, Tom stuck with his ideas.
It resulted well in the next season, when the team won the ‘NFC East.’ By the end of the season, Tom had transformed the team to make them go from a weak team to the best possible contender for the ‘Super Bowl’ title in 2006.
After a great start to the season, the ‘Giants’ embarked on a losing streak during the second half of the season. During a match against the ‘New Orleans Saints,’ the crowd chanted “Fire Coughlin” loudly. However, the team managed to secure a spot in the playoff, and Tom was saved from firing.
Things turned around for the better in 2007, when the Giants secured a place in the playoffs first and then the ‘Super Bowl.’ The ‘Giants’ shocked everyone by winning the ‘Super Bowl XLII.’
In 2008, following the ‘Super Bowl’ victory, the ‘Giants’ extended his contract and made him one of the highest-paid coaches in ‘NFL’ history. It proved to be the right decision, as Tom further led his team to another ‘Super Bowl’ victory in 2012.
However, the team’s bad performance in the subsequent seasons had Tom resigning from his position. He returned to the ‘Jacksonville Jaguars’ in 2017 to become an executive, and under his mentorship, the team made it to the ‘AFC Championship.’ His contract was further extended to 2021.