Tom Coughlin life and biography

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Tom Coughlin biography

Date of birth : 1946-08-31
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Waterloo, New York
Nationality : American
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2010-10-04
Credited as : Football coach NFL, head coach for the New York Giants, Super Bowl/Pro Bowl

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Thomas Richard Coughlin (born August 31, 1946 in Waterloo, New York) is an American football coach who is currently head coach for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL). Coughlin has long been regarded as one of the premier head coaches in the NFL, and led the Giants to victory in Super Bowl XLII. Coughlin was also the inaugural head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, serving from 1995-2002 and leading the team to two AFC Championship Games. Prior to his professional football career he was head coach of the Boston College Eagles football team from 1991-1993, and served in a variety of coaching and administrative positions in college football.

Long regarded as one of the NFL's premier head coaches, Tom Coughlin is one of the most successful in the 86-year history of the Giants.

He ascended to the pinnacle of his profession in the 2007 season when he led the Giants to a victory in Super Bowl XLII. The Giants, heavy underdogs entering the game, scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to defeat the previously-undefeated New England Patriots, 17-14.

Last year, the Giants were 8-8, following marks of 12-4, 10-6, 8-8 and 11-5 the previous four seasons. Their five-year streak without a losing record is the Giants' longest since they had 10 in a row from 1954-63. In 2008, Coughlin led the Giants to the NFC East championship and their 12 victories was their highest total since the 2000 NFC champions won 12 games. The division title was the Giants' seventh since the 1970 merger. It was the eighth time in franchise history and the sixth time since the 1970 merger that the Giants finished a season with at least 12 victories. The Giants advanced to postseason play for the fourth consecutive season, the first time they accomplished that feat in their history.

Coughlin also led the Jacksonville Jaguars to four consecutive postseason berths (1996-99) and is one of only three coaches in NFL history to accomplish that feat with two different teams. The others are Marty Schottenheimer (Cleveland, 1985-88 and Kansas City, 1990-95) and Mike Holmgren (Green Bay, 1993-98) and Seattle (2003-07).

Under Coughlin, the Giants routinely establish franchise statistical milestones. In 2009, the Giants scored 402 points after scoring 425 in 2008. It is the first time in franchise history the Giants scored at least 400 points in consecutive seasons. The Giants gained 5,856 yards, the second-highest total in franchise history and just 28 yards less than the franchise record set in 1985. The Giants set a franchise record with 4,019 net passing yards, the first 4,000-yard season in team history.

From Sept. 20 to Oct. 4, the Giants won consecutive road games in Dallas, Tampa Bay and Kansas City. They were just the eighth team of the 108 (7.4 percent) that have played at least three consecutive road games since 1990 to win every game. Both the Giants and Coughlin are on the list twice. The Giants swept a three-game trip in 1994, when they traveled to Houston, Washington and Cleveland on successive weeks. Coughlin's 2001 Jacksonville Jaguars also won three road games in three weeks. Of course, Coughlin's 2007 Giants won three straight road playoff games on the way to Super Bowl XLII.

The 2008 Giants established several milestones and records. The Giants had two more victories than they finished with the previous season to become the fifth defending Super Bowl champion to win more games the season following a championship than they did on their way to winning the Lombardi Trophy (not counting the strike-shortened 1982 season). The Giants were the first defending Super Bowl champion in 10 years - and only the fourth overall - to earn a top seed in the postseason a year after winning the championship game (since seeding began in 1990).

Coughlin has always stressed the importance of limiting turnovers and the Giants set an NFL record (tied by the Miami Dolphins) by coughing up the ball only 13 times in 16 games. The Giants and Dolphins were the seventh and eighth teams to average less than one turnover a game over a 16-game season. Coughlin has coached two of the teams, the 2002 Jaguars and last season's Giants.

The Giants rushed for NFL-leading and franchise record numbers of 2,518 yards and 5.0 yards per carry. The previous records were 2,451 yards in 1985 and 4.7 yards an attempt in 2005 and 2006. The Giants finished the season with 427 points and 338 first downs, both the second-highest totals in franchise history. They scored 448 points in 1963 and had 356 first downs in 1985.

Coughlin is one of just five active coaches to lead a team to a Super Bowl victory. The others are Bill Belichick, Mike Shanahan, Mike Tomlin and Sean Payton. When the Giants won Super Bowl XLII, Coughlin became the 26th different head coach to win a Super Bowl, and the second to win one with the Giants (Bill Parcells won two). At 1-0, Coughlin is one of 18 coaches with an unblemished Super Bowl record. At 61 years and 156 days old, he was the third-oldest coach to win a Super Bowl. Only Dick Vermeil and Weeb Ewbank were older.

Coughlin is 8-7 in the postseason, including 4-3 with the Giants. The four playoff victories are the second-most in Giants history, behind Parcells' eight.

Under Coughlin, the Giants are 41-9 when leading at halftime, 42-4 when leading after the third quarter, 42-20 when they rush for at least 100 yards, 31-10 when holding the opposition to less than 100 yards on the ground and 33-7 when the turnover differential is to their advantage.

The 2007 championship season, two division titles, four postseason berths and the streak of non-losing seasons are successes in a Giants' revival that began when Coughlin was named the 16th head coach in franchise history on Jan. 6, 2004. The Giants won only four games in the season before his arrival. A successful head coach in the NFL and on the collegiate level, Coughlin was an assistant coach with the Giants when they won Super Bowl XXV in 1990. When he returned to the team as head coach, Coughlin quickly put the team back on a path that would ultimately lead to another Super Bowl victory.

The Giants improved from four to six to 11 victories and the NFC East title in Coughlin's first two seasons with the team. In 2006, they went 8-8 and earned an NFC Wild Card playoff berth. The following season, the Giants were 10-6 in the regular season and again reached postseason play as a Wild Card, which served as a springboard to the team's Super Bowl victory. In 2008, they were again one of the NFL's very best teams and reached the playoffs for the first time following a Super Bowl appearance.

Coughlin has won four division titles and led his teams to the playoffs eight times in his 14 years as an NFL head coach. Belichick, who has coached the New England Patriots to seven first place finishes in the AFC East, is the only active coach entering the 2010 season with more division titles than the Giants' coach.

Coughlin is 123-108 (.548) in the regular season, plus 8-7 in the postseason for an overall record of 131-107 (.550). His 123 regular season victories place him fourth among current NFL head coaches, behind Belichick, Shanahan and Jeff Fisher, all of whom have coached at least one more season than Coughlin, who is the only one of the four to have coached an expansion team. The 123 victories leave him in 24th place on the NFL's all-time regular season list, two behind former Saints and Colts coach Jim Mora. Coughlin's 131 total victories place him 23rd, three behind Ewbank, a Hall of Famer. A victory over the Jets on Oct. 7, 2007 was the 100th of Coughlin's career, including postseason games. Coughlin won his 100th regular season game at Detroit on Nov. 18, 2007.

Coughlin twice led the Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game prior to leading the Giants to victory in the NFC Championship Game. He is one of just six coaches to lead teams to a championship game in each conference since the 1970 merger. The others are Parcells and Dan Reeves (both former Giants coaches), as well as Chuck Knox, Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden.

The 2007 Giants set several milestone achievements on their way to the NFL championship. The Giants became the fifth Wild Card team to win the Super Bowl, the second in three years (the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL) and the first from the NFC. They were the second team to win the Super Bowl after winning three postseason games on the road to get there (again joining the 2005 Steelers). The No. 5 Giants were the lowest-seeded NFC team to win the Super Bowl since the NFL began seeding teams in 1990. The previous low was a second-seeded team. The Giants were just the third team to win the Super Bowl after starting the season 0-2. The others were the 1993 Dallas Cowboys and the 2001 Patriots.

Perhaps the most impressive characteristic of the 2007 Giants was their ability to win on the road. The Giants won 10 consecutive games as visitors (seven regular season, three postseason), an NFL single-season record. They were the visiting team in the Super Bowl, which was their 11th consecutive triumph away from Giants Stadium. The Giants won their first 2008 road game, at St. Louis, to extend their road winning streak to 11 games, which tied them with three other teams for the second-longest such streak in NFL history. They achieved much of that success with 11 rookies on their 2007 active roster, a record for a Super Bowl winner.

In 2007, the Giants started the season 0-2 before winning six consecutive games to become just the fifth team in history and the second since 1947 to follow two opening losses with six straight triumphs. The last of those victories was over the Miami Dolphins in London's Wembley Stadium, which made them the first team to win a regular season game outside of North America.

The Giants have made dramatic statistical improvement under Coughlin. The team averaged 380.0 points and had three of the franchise's four 400-point seasons in his first six years. Under Coughlin's stewardship, the Giants have had four of the five highest-scoring seasons in the history of the franchise, with 427 points in 2008, 422 in 2005, 402 last year and 373 in 2007. The Giants scored more than 30 points six times in 2009, seven times in 2008 - including four in a row from Nov. 2-23 - and six times in 2007, their highest totals of 30-point games since 1963, when they had 10. The Giants averaged 285.6 points a year in the three seasons prior to Coughlin's arrival.

The Giants' offense has been ranked seventh and eighth in the NFL, respectively, in the last two seasons, the first time they've been in the Top 10 in consecutive seasons since 2001 and 2002. In 2008, the Giants and Philadelphia Eagles were the only two NFL teams to be ranked in the top nine in both offense and defense. The Giants were ranked seventh offensively (355.9 yards a game) and fifth defensively (292.0). It was the first season in which the Giants were ranked in the top 10 on offense and defense since 2002, when they were sixth in offense (364.1 yards a game) and ninth in defense (309.3). The 2008 season was the first in which the Giants allowed less than 300 yards a game since 2000, when the opponents of the NFC champions gained 281.4 yards per game.

The Giants were first in rushing yardage in 2008, when they set franchise records with 157.4 yards per game and 5.0 yards per carry. They finished seventh or better in the league rushing every season from 2005-2008, the first time since 1990-93 that they were in the NFL's top 10 four years in a row.

In 2009, the Giants scored 46 touchdowns, their highest total since the 1985 team scored 48. Steve Smith (7), Hakeem Nicks (6), Mario Manningham (5) and Kevin Boss (5) all had at least five touchdown receptions. It was the first time the Giants have had four different receivers with at least five touchdown catches apiece since 1963, when five players reached that total: Del Shofner (9), Frank Gifford (7), Joe Morison (7), Joe Walton (6) and Phil King (5). The Giants scored 45 touchdowns in both 2005 and 2008. In the first of those seasons, they were only the fifth team in NFL history to have five different players score at least seven touchdowns. Tiki Barber scored 11, and Jeremy Shockey, Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer and Brandon Jacobs scored seven apiece. The Giants' 5,787 total yards that season were the third-most in team history and their offense ranked fourth in the NFL with an average of 361.7 yards a game. It was the team's highest ranking since 1972, when the offense also ranked fourth with an average of 320.2 yards a game

Defensively, the Giants ranked fifth in total defense in 2008, allowing 292.0 yards a game. It was their highest ranking since 2000, when they were also fifth. The 292 yards per game were the fewest allowed by the Giants since 2000, when they gave up 284.1. The Giants were ninth in the NFL in rushing defense, surrendering 95.8 yards per game. In the 2007 Super Bowl season, the Giants were eighth in rushing defense, allowing 97.7 yards a game.

Coughlin has also overseen a significant improvement in the Giants' special teams. Last year, Lawrence Tynes was fifth in the NFL in scoring with a career-high 126 points, the fourth-highest total by a kicker in Giants history. In 2008, three Giants special teams player played in the Pro Bowl - punter Jeff Feagles, kicker John Carney and long-snapper Zak DeOssie. Feagles, who was 42 in 2008, finished the season with a gross average of 44.0 yards and a net average of 40.2 yards on 64 punts. The net average was a career high. His previous best net average was 38.2 yards in 1995, his first Pro Bowl season. Feagles' gross average tied for the second-highest of his career and is just three-tenths of a yard less than the career best of 44.3 yards he set with Arizona in 1997. He averaged 44.0 yards the following year. Carney scored a career-high 143 points, the second-highest figure in Giants history and just five less than Jay Feely's record of 148 in 2005. Carney kicked 35 field goals in 38 attempts, a .921 percentage that was the best in Giants history. Two of his three misses were blocked.

The year before Coughlin arrived, the Giants averaged only 19.9 yards a kickoff return. In 2004, they led the NFL in kickoff return yardage for the first time since 1953 with an average return of 25.1 yards. In 2005, their average kickoff return dropped by less than a yard, to 24.3 yards, good for fourth in the NFL. The Giants allowed only 140 punt return yards the entire 2008 season, when opposing teams averaged 5.8 yards on punt returns, the third-best figure in the NFL.

Many Giants players have enjoyed outstanding seasons in the Coughlin era. In 2009, quarterback Eli Manning posted career highs in completions (317), completion percentage (62.3), yards (4,021), touchdowns (27) and rating (93.1). Steve Smith shattered the franchise record with 107 receptions and was the first Giants wide receiver to play in the Pro Bowl since Homer Jones in 1968 (not including David Tyree's selection as a special teams player in 2005). Smith was joined at the Pro Bowl by offensive linemen Chris Snee, Shaun O'Hara and David Diehl, the first time the Giants had three players from the same position group selected to the game since 1962. In 2008, seven Giants played in the Pro Bowl, the team's largest contingent since the 1990 Super Bowl champions sent seven players to the game. The Pro Bowlers were Manning, Snee, O'Hara, Carney, defensive end Justin Tuck, Feagles and long snapper DeOssie.

Manning, who threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes in Super Bowl XLII, is the first Giants quarterback to throw for more than 3,000 yards in five consecutive seasons and the first to throw at least 20 touchdown passes five years in a row. Manning's 87 consecutive regular season starts was the third-longest active streak among NFL quarterbacks at the end of the 2009 season. With Brandon Jacobs (1,089 yards) and Derrick Ward (1,025), the 2008 Giants were just the fourth team in history with two running backs rushing for at least 1,000 yards apiece in the same season. Jacobs was the fourth running back in Giants history to run for at least 1,000 yards in at least two consecutive seasons. He ran for 15 touchdowns in 2008 and was just the second player in Giants history to run for that many scores in a single season.

Coughlin previously coached the Jacksonville Jaguars, taking charge of the expansion franchise more than 18 months prior to its first game and guiding the team for its first eight seasons. Under Coughlin, the Jaguars were the most successful expansion team in NFL history. Coughlin compiled a 68-60 regular season record (.531), plus a 4-4 mark in the playoffs, and twice took Jacksonville to the AFC Championship Game. The Jaguars made the playoffs every year from 1996-99, the only expansion team in history to earn four postseason berths in its first five seasons.

Under Coughlin, the Jaguars compiled several impressive statistical records. Jacksonville was 55-12 in games in which it owned a lead entering the fourth period. The Jaguars were 40-28 in games against division opponents, 21-3 in games in which they scored a touchdown on their initial offensive possession and 51-30 in games in which they rushed for at least 100 yards.

Coughlin was out of football in 2003 but has been in the coaching profession for more than 40 years. He has always emphasized ball security and his teams have been among the very best in the NFL at taking care of the football. His career turnover differential is plus-43 in the regular season and plus-two in the postseason. In the 128 regular season games they played under Coughlin, the Jaguars committed fewer than three turnovers in 104 of them, including 32 in which they had no giveaways. In those 128 games, Jacksonville had 187 giveaways, giving Coughlin a 1.46 turnovers-per-game average. Only eight teams in history have had fewer turnovers than games played. Coughlin was the head coach of two of them - the 2002 Jaguars and 2008 Giants - and an assistant on another (the 1990 Giants).

The Jaguars' turnover differential during Coughlin's eight-year tenure was plus-34. In four seasons under Coughlin, the Giants are plus-nine, including an NFC-best plus-nine in 2008, when the Giants lost only three fumbles all year.

Coughlin became the first head coach of the expansion Jaguars on Feb. 21, 1994, 559 days before the franchise played its first regular season game. In 1995, Jacksonville won four games, more than any previous expansion team in NFL history. The following year, Coughlin was named NFL Coach of the Year by United Press International as the Jaguars made the playoffs in just their second season and advanced all the way to the AFC Championship Game, where they lost to the New England Patriots.

That began a streak of four consecutive playoff seasons for the Jaguars. In both 1997 and '98 Jacksonville won 11 games, winning their first division title in 1998. The following season, the Jaguars had an NFL-best record of 14-2 and again advanced to the conference title game.

Coughlin earned a reputation as one of the NFL's finest offensive coaches. During his tenure, the Jaguars led the NFL in both passing yards (4,367 in 1996) and rushing yards (2,091 in 1999). In addition to having the most rushing yards in the NFL in 1999, Jacksonville boasted the league's leading receiver in Jimmy Smith (116 receptions). The only other team in history to accomplish that double was the 1954 San Francisco 49ers.

Coughlin arrived in Jacksonville following three years as the head coach at Boston College, where he turned a struggling program into a Top 20 team. He was 21-13-1 in three seasons (1991-93) with the Eagles, including 9-3 in 1993, when Boston College won eight consecutive games, defeated top-ranked Notre Dame, 41-39, and beat Virginia in the Carquest Bowl. Coughlin's last Boston College team was ranked 12th in the USA Today/CNN coaches poll and 13th by the Associated Press, despite starting the season 0-2. The Eagles were 8-2-1 in 1992 and 4-7 in his first season in 1991.

Coughlin, Tony Sparano of the Miami Dolphins, Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks and Chan Gailey of the Buffalo Bills are the only current NFL head coaches with experience as college head coaches.

Coughlin was the Giants wide receivers coach under Parcells from 1988-90. Under his tutelage, receivers such as Mark Ingram, Lionel Manuel, Odessa Turner and Stephen Baker all improved and helped the Giants win their second Super Bowl.

Coughlin began his coaching career in 1969 as a graduate assistant at Syracuse, his alma mater. He was the head coach at the Rochester Institute of Technology from 1970-73, compiling a record of 16-15-2. Coughlin returned to Syracuse in 1974, first serving as quarterbacks and offensive backfield coach for three seasons before being promoted to offensive coordinator for four years. He directed an offense that led the Orangemen to victory in the 1979 Independence Bowl, their first postseason triumph in 13 years.

In 1981, Coughlin went to Boston College for the first time, as quarterbacks coach under Jack Bicknell. He helped the Eagles win their first bowl game and coached Doug Flutie, who would win the Heisman Trophy in 1984, one season after Coughlin's departure. In 1983, Boston College won the Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy as Eastern Champion, its first in 42 years.

Coughlin entered the NFL as the Philadelphia Eagles' wide receivers coach in 1984 and '85. He held the same position with the Green Bay Packers in 1986 and '87 before moving to the Giants for a three-year stint.

Coughlin was a standout scholastic star at Waterloo (N.Y.) Central High School, where the football stadium now bears his name. He was a three-year letterman at Syracuse for legendary coach Ben Schwartzwalder from 1965-67. A wingback, Coughlin played in a backfield with All-America backs and Pro Football Hall of Famers Larry Csonka and Floyd Little. As a senior in 1967, Coughlin broke Syracuse's single-season pass receiving record. That year, he won Syracuse's Orange Key Award as the university's outstanding scholar-athlete. He graduated in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in education and received a master's degree in education the following year.

Thomas Richard Coughlin was born on Aug. 31, 1946 in Waterloo. He is the oldest of seven children. Coughlin and his wife Judy, have two daughters, Keli and Kate; two son-in-laws named Chris; two sons, Brian and Tim; two daughters-in-law, Andrea (Tim's wife) and Susie (Brian's wife); and ten grandchildren: Emma Rose, Dylan, Shea, Cooper, Caroline, Marin, Wesley, Brennon, Clara and Walker.

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