Whether it’s been playing through injuries, keeping faith a part of his life, or helping teach the game of football — Phil McGeoghan has seen his fair share of adversities.
McGeoghan, who joined the USF football staff last week as wide receivers coach, said it’s been his strong football background and family upbringing that has led him through life. He brings four years of NFL playing experience and two years of coaching at the University of Maine and Naval Academy Prep School.
McGeoghan worked under former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden. He began his work on campus Monday and had a chance to talk to the Oracle about the new job.
Oracle: How excited are you to be a part of USF?
Phil McGeoghan: I love the campus. This is an exhilarating feeling. As soon as I walked on campus in November for the Connecticut game, I knew there was something special about the environment here.
I know Coach Canales well, and we just have a vibe that supersedes football.
I’ve always been tied to the program, and I had the pleasure of meeting some of the players earlier and realized they are a hard working group of guys.
O: What were some of the things that stood out to you about the team when you visited?
PM: When I met some of the players, I gave them my cell phone number and told them if they ever wanted to just talk about football or life or anything else, they could call me. After that first practice, two guys had already called me, Taurus Johnson and Carlton Mitchell. That impressed me.
The guys are really passionate about becoming better football players. I was really impressed with the way coach Canales had coached up those receivers, too.
O: How much does being a former player help to relate to the guys you are coaching?
PM: My philosophy on coaching has always been to care about my players as much as I care about myself. I cared about my kids at Maine and at the Naval Academy.
But you also have to know your stuff. I really pride myself with being a student of the game. I’m looking to improve all the time in my knowledge of the game.
Obviously, my NFL career wasn’t what I wanted it to be, but I couldn’t wave a magic wand and fix my injuries. Just the experience of being in and around the NFL has made my football mind stronger.
O: What was it like to work with so many famous coaches?
PM: It’s crazy because when I think about it, the best coaches I ever worked with never even played football. Working with Shanahan, Gruden and Callahan has given me a lot of good experience. That to me is a high-bonus factor, but that doesn’t make me a fantastic coach because I ran out of a tunnel.
I think the knowledge of being in those meeting rooms and knowing how to get to the NFL helps me get players excited about USF football.
O: What do you expect from the receivers next year?
PM: I coach very hard. I’m going to expect a lot out of them.
I coach passionately, but I will also do a lot of things with them outside the realm of football. We will do community service together, and all of them will have the opportunity to go to church with me.
O: How much does your faith mean to you?
PM: Faith is the biggest thing for me. I have Philippians 4:13 as my verse, and I base everything on my faith.
Times have not always been good for me, and at times I wondered why I was put on this platform of injuries when I wanted to showcase my abilities, but I was raised in the church, and I was raised on how to deal with adversity.
My relationship with God has been an important role in my life.
O: What would you say to people who think you might not have enough experience?
PM: I understand that the magnitude of the job is unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of, but I honestly feel we have the guys that can accept the challenge that we as coaches will pose to win a Big East title this year.
I want people to raise questions like that. I can understand that, and appreciate it, because people are passionate about football down here.
What I can say to reassure them is that I will work hard and do my job. I know I can do this job.
O: What will be the biggest difference for you compared to Maine?
PM: I tell you what — it’s very difficult to recruit up there. It’s hard to go up to a kid and tell him he should go to the University of Maine. We had to have great work ethic and pay attention to details.
It’s a lot like (USF coach) Jim Leavitt, in terms of the same type of mentality of the way you go about your business.