INDIANAPOLIS – Thomas McGaughey, special teams coordinator for two different NFL teams each of the past two seasons, has been hired by the Panthers as an assistant special teams coach.
McGaughey replaces Russ Purnell, who joined the Panthers when special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven was diagnosed with cancer last offseason.
McGaughey coordinated special teams for the San Francisco 49ers last season and for the New York Jets in 2014, but in both instances the franchises made a head coaching change after the season that left McGaughey without a job. His credentials also include four seasons with the New York Giants that overlapped with Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman and linebackers coach Al Holcomb.
"We feel real comfortable with him," head coach Ron Rivera said of McGaughey at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday. "He was in New York, and we had an opportunity to talk to Coach (Tom) Coughlin about him, and he spoke very highly of him. We talked with Al Holcomb, who worked with him as well.
"We had an opportunity to look at some of the stuff he did when he was with San Francisco. There’s good reason to hire a guy like that."
Prior his two recent stops as special teams coordinator, McGaughey found success as a special teams coach on both the pro and college levels.
He served as special teams coordinator for Louisiana State University from 2011-13, helping the Tigers score seven special teams touchdowns in three seasons while working with the likes of Odell Beckham, Jr. and Tyrann Mathieu. He spent six seasons prior to that as an assistant special teams coach in the NFL, starting with two seasons in Denver (2005-06) followed by his tenure with the Giants (2007-10), which began with a triumph in Super Bowl XLII.
A defensive back at the University of Houston from 1991-95 and special teams captain as a senior, McGaughey began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater in 1998 and served as the Cougars’ special teams coordinator from 2003-04 before joining the Broncos staff.