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William & Mary football fans who tune in for Super Bowl 50 on Sunday may recognize a familiar face on the Carolina Panthers sideline, as former Tribe standout Sean McDermott ’98 currently serves as the NFC champion’s defensive coordinator.
McDermott is currently in his fifth season as the Panthers’ defensive coordinator and has developed the unit into one of the NFL’s best during his tenure. Entering the 2015 season, McDermott’s group was one of just three in the NFL to rank among the top 10 in defense each of the last three seasons.
A fierce competitor, McDermott was a four-year letterwinner for the Tribe who finished his career with 322 tackles in 26 career starts. He graduated from the College in 1998 with a degree in business finance.
A feature story by cbssports.com detailing how McDermott’s time at W&M helped contribute to his success in the NFL is available here.
After coming to the College as a walk-on prior to the 1993 season, McDermott quickly proved his value and eventually became a three-year starter for the Tribe at the free safety position. One of the squad’s strongest leaders, McDermott was elected as a team captain for his senior year (1997). That season saw him earn both All-Atlantic 10 and All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) honors. He also was named to the Atlantic 10’s All-Academic squad.
In addition to leading the Panthers’ defense for the past five seasons, McDermott’s impressive coaching resume includes a 12-year stint with the Philadelphia Eagles – the final two of which he served as the organization’s defensive coordinator. During his successful tenure with the Eagles, he helped contribute to six division titles, five NFC Championship game appearances and a trip to Super Bowl XXXIX.