John McVay

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John McVay
Biographical details
Born(1931-01-05)January 5, 1931
Bellaire, Ohio, U.S.
DiedOctober 31, 2022(2022-10-31) (aged 91)
Granite Bay, California, U.S.
Playing career
1950–1952Miami (OH)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1953–1955Lancaster HS (OH) (assistant)
1956Franklin HS (OH)
1957–1961Central Catholic HS (OH)
1962–1964Michigan State (assistant)
1974–1975Memphis Southmen
1976New York Giants (assistant)
1976–1978New York Giants
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1974–1975Memphis Southmen (GM)
1976New York Giants (DRD)
1980–1994San Francisco 49ers (VP)
1995San Francisco 49ers (SA)
1998–1999San Francisco 49ers (GM)
Head coaching record
Overall41–7–2 (high school)
37–41–4 (college)
24–7 (WFL)
14–23 (NFL)
Accomplishments and honors
First-team All-MAC (1952)
NFL Executive of the Year (1989)

John Edward McVay (January 5, 1931 – October 31, 2022) was an American football coach and executive. He rose through the coaching ranks from high school, through the college level, and to the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Miami University in Ohio, starring as a center.

Early life[edit]

McVay was born in Bellaire, Ohio. McVay later moved to Massillon where he played high school football for Massillon Washington High School and was named second-team All-Ohio. McVay played college football at Miami University. He later married and had three boys, John, Jim, and Tim. His grandson, Sean McVay, son of Tim, is currently the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

McVay coached at several Ohio high schools, Michigan State University as an assistant coach, and then head coach at the University of Dayton.

Coaching career[edit]

McVay became the head coach of the World Football League Memphis Southmen (also known as the Memphis Grizzlies) in 1974, the WFL's first season. His record at Memphis was 24–7; the league folded in 1975.[1] In 1976, he went to the NFL New York Giants as an assistant coach of research and development under fellow Miami alumnus Bill Arnsparger. After opening with seven losses, Arnsparger was fired in late October and McVay was promoted.[2][3] From 1976 to 1978, McVay struggled with a franchise in transition. His first NFL season included a roster with three rookie quarterbacks. His contract with the Giants was not renewed after the 1978 season, most likely as the result of a famous loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on November 19.[4]

Executive career[edit]

McVay moved on to an administrative position with the San Francisco 49ers in 1980.[5] He collaborated with head coach Bill Walsh in one of the most successful dynasties in NFL history. As vice president/director of football operations, he presided over five Super Bowl-winning seasons. He was named NFL Executive of the Year in 1989.[6] He retired from the 49ers in 1996. But when the franchise was transferred from Eddie DeBartolo Jr. to his sister, Denise, the York family wanted a steady hand like McVay's in the front office during the transition. McVay agreed to come back in 1998 and stayed for two more seasons.

Personal life and death[edit]

McVay's grandson, Sean, at the age of 30, became the youngest head coach in NFL history after he was hired by the Los Angeles Rams in 2017.[7] Sean subsequently became the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl when in 2022 he won Super Bowl LVI.[8]

McVay died on October 31, 2022, at the age of 91.[9]

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Dayton Flyers (NCAA University Division independent) (1965–1972)
1965 Dayton 1–8–1
1966 Dayton 8–2
1967 Dayton 6–3–1
1968 Dayton 5–5
1969 Dayton 3–7
1970 Dayton 5–4–1
1971 Dayton 5–6
1972 Dayton 4–6–1
Dayton: 37–41–4
Total: 37–41–4


Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
NYG 1976 3 4 0 .429 5th in NFC East
NYG 1977 5 9 0 .357 T–4th in NFC East
NYG 1978 6 10 0 .375 5th in NFC East
NYG Total 14 23 0 .378
NFL Total[10] 14 23 0 .378
Total 14 23 0 .378


  1. ^ "WFLSouthmanCsonka1". Retrieved September 2, 2010.
  2. ^ "Arnsparger out; McVay gets job". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. October 26, 1976. p. 17.
  3. ^ Lowenkron, Hank (October 26, 1976). "Arnsparger out and McVay in as coach of winless Giants". The Day. (New London, Connecticut). Associated Press. p. 18.
  4. ^ Monkovic, Toni (January 24, 2007). "Giants-Broncos, Super Bowl XXI". The New York Times. Retrieved September 2, 2010.
  5. ^ The Sacramento Bee (subscription required)
  6. ^ "NFL Executive of the Year - List of Winner By Year". Retrieved September 3, 2010.
  7. ^ Simmons, Myles. "Three Things to Know about Rams HC Sean McVay". Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  8. ^ Gasper, Christopher L. (February 14, 2022). "Rock star Rams coach Sean McVay needed this Super Bowl victory for the ring, and redemption". Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  9. ^ Goldstein, Richard (November 1, 2022). "John McVay, Key Figure in the Making of a 49ers Dynasty, Dies at 91". The New York Times. Retrieved 2022-11-01.
  10. ^ "John McVay Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks -".

External links[edit]