The youngest NFL head coach in history has had quite the illustrious start to his coaching career. From being the youngest head coach to lead his team to the playoffs to bringing home a Coach of the Year award for his impressive work with the Los Angeles Rams, everything seems to be coming up Sean McVay recently. Coming from a long lineage of football players, it only made sense that McVay was destined to make his living in the football world, but let's take deeper of a look into one of the NFL's brightest young coaching stars.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, Sean came from a family with a long history in football. His grandfather was general manager for the San Francisco 49ers and had assembled five Superbowl winning teams in that role. Sean's father played defensive back for Indiana University.
Was McVay a
Football Player Before Coaching?
Yes! McVay was actually quite an accomplished high school football player and a Division 1 football player at Miami University of Ohio before starting his coaching career.
Sean McVay was a star player and four-year varsity letterman at Marist High School in Brookhaven, Georgia. McVay starred at both quarterback and defensive back during his high school tenure. In fact, McVay became the first football player in Marist High School history to pass and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. As quarterback, he scored forty rushing and eighteen passing touchdowns as he led the team to a 26-3 record including a 14-1 run in his senior year to win a state title.
McVay has credited his experience as quarterback of an "option" offense for helping him in his coaching career. From a young age, McVay needed to understand what every player on the field went through as his offense was predicated on adjusting to what the defense gives you. He kept applying that same mentality even after his high school quarterbacking days were finished.
After high school, McVay enrolled at Miami University of Ohio where he moved from quarterback to wide receiver. McVay played from 2004-2007 and totaled 39 catches for 312 yards in his time there. For his last season in 2007, McVay earned Miami Ohio's Scholar-Athlete award. He ended up with 39 receptions totaling 312 yards for the RedHawks before graduating in 2008.
Which Teams Has Sean McVay Coached?
McVay has coached for 3 NFL and 1 UFL team since his coaching career began in 2008, serving as head coach for the Los Angeles Rams.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sean McVay got his coaching start in 2008 under Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an assistant wide receivers coach. The Grudens and McVays go way back in the football community, with Sean's Grandfather first hiring Jon's father at the University of Dayton. Sean McVay actually had an extra year of college eligibility left, but decided to forgo his final season to work under Jon Gruden. McVay's tenure in Tampa was short lived however with Gruden leaving the team after the 2008 season along with most of his existing staff.
In his short time there, McVay impressed many players and coaches as he rose through the ranks from more of a secretarial role to on-the-field instruction with some of Tampa's best players.
McVay spent the 2009 season as the wide receiver/quality control coach of the United Football League's Florida Tuskers. It was here he met head coach Jay Gruden who would later give him some of his biggest opportunities in the NFL.
Following his brief stint as a coach in the UFL, McVay was back in the NFL under coach Mike Shanahan and the Redskins the following year. His first season, 2010, Sean McVay served as the assistant tight end coach for the Redskins. By the 2011 season, McVay had been promoted to the head tight end coach position, one in which he held through the 2013 season.
McVay got one of his biggest breaks in January of 2014. After the ousting of Mike Shanahan, Jay Gruden took over the helm of the Washington Redskins and promoted McVay to the role of offensive coordinator. During his three-year stint as offensive coordinator of the Redskins, McVay established himself as one of the brightest young football minds in the game. Serving as the brains behind a revamped Redskins's passing attack and the breakout of young quarterback Kirk Cousins, McVay turned a paltry Redskins offensive unit into the 12th best passing attack in only his first season.
The offense improved in his three years at the helm, culminating in a 2016 season in which the Redskins had the 2nd most passing yards in the NFL.
Los Angeles Rams
Sean McVay finally took the final step in his coaching career on January 12th, 2017 when he was named the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. The hiring cemented McVay in the record books as the youngest head coach in NFL history at 30 years and 11 months, besting previous record holder Lane Kiffin by nearly a full year at the time of his hire. McVay inherited the 4-12 Rams who had the worst scoring offense in the NFL the previous season.
Despite many doubters surrounding a young Rams team, McVay defied expectations en route to an 11-5 season, one of the best offenses in the league, and a playoff appearance, making him the youngest head coach to do so. McVay further bolstered his historic 2017 campaign by bringing home the Coach of the Year award, making him once again, the youngest coach in NFL history to do so.
Sean McVay has continued to build on the success of his first season, leading the Los Angeles Rams to a record of 11-3 at the time of this writing. McVay led the Rams to an 8-0 start, the best in franchise history since 1969. Under McVay, the revamped offense has only improved, catapulting running back Todd Gurley and quarterback Jared Goff into near superstardom.
How to Be Like Sean McVay:
Reach his Records and Statistics
Being only 30 years and 11 months at the time of his hiring, Sean McVay has set a pretty high (or low depending on how you look at it) bar for anyone aspiring to one day break records he has already set in his career.
Something that has helped McVay achieve such a high level is that he played football at a high level. By playing in both high school and college, McVay got an inside understanding of what really happens on the field. Furthermore, that experience helps to earn the respect of some of his veteran players who are actually older than him.
Obsess over Football
Something that makes McVay unique is the fact that he can recall every single play from every single game he has ever coached in. While this alone doesn't make him a great coach, it shows a great insight into why he is as good as he is. It is well documented that McVay is obsessed with football to the point where his personal life sometimes can take a hit. He spends all his free time watching film, breaking down plays, and scouting players because it is what he loves to do.
If it sounds like a lot of work to be the next Sean McVay, that's because it is! McVay reached such incredible heights by putting in hours of hard work and outworking the competition.
Sean McVay Records and Statistics
Youngest Head Coach In NFL History
On January 12th, 2017 Sean McVay became the youngest head coach in NFL history. At 30 years and 11 months old, he bested previous record holder Lane Kiffen by roughly 9 months.
Youngest Head Coach to reach NFL Playoffs
On January 8th, 2018 Sean McVay became the youngest head coach in NFL history to lead his team to the playoffs when his Los Angeles Rams took on the Atlanta Falcons. McVay guided the Rams to an impressive 11-5 record during the regular season.
Coach Of The Year
Sean McVay won the NFL Coach of the Year award on January 19th, 2018 after his first season as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. This made him the youngest coach in NFL history to do so.
All in all, McVay is an impressive young coach off to one of the best starts in the history of the NFL. Although he has set many records and reached many milestones in such a short career, he still has a long way to go to be talked about in the same breath as the likes of Belichick, Lombardi, and other legends. That said, if he can keep up this level of production from his teams, there is a good chance we might be saying his name among the all-time greats. At the young age of 32, McVay has a lifetime of football ahead of him and it will be interesting to see where the rest of his promise-filled career takes him.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons