South Bend Stories: McGeoghan's strong Irish roots
Skip Holtz isn't the only USF coach with strong family ties to Notre Dame football.
Receivers coach Phil McGeoghan grew up in Massachusetts a big Notre Dame fan, and as his name suggests, his family has roots in Ireland. The family loyalty to Notre Dame was never stronger than five years ago this week, when his uncle, David Killeen, was watching a Notre Dame-Penn State game on television and suffered a massive heart attack, killing him at age 62.
"He was the biggest Notre Dame fan in the family," said McGeoghan, 32. "He passed away in his Notre Dame stuff, which is how he wanted to go."
USF's current quarterbacks coach, Peter Vaas, who had coached McGeoghan in NFL Europe, was on the Notre Dame staff in 2006, and when told of his uncle's death, Vaas took the Notre Dame ballcap he wore on the sidelines that day, got autographs from quarterback Brady Quinn, receiver Jeff Samardzija and other players, and overnighted it to McGeoghan.
"The wake was on Tuesday," said McGeoghan, who grew up with Notre Dame quarterback Tony Rice as his favorite player. "We buried him in the hat. It was unique, and my family was so appreciative of the gesture from Coach Vaas."
Killeen's last game watching Notre Dame was a good one -- Quinn threw for three touchdowns, one to Samardzija, in a 41-17 victory against Penn State, matching the most lopsided loss Joe Paterno has taken in the last five years.