hen he took the reins of the Los Angeles Rams in January 2017, 30-year-old Sean McVay became the youngest head coach in NFL history. In just one year he transformed a last-place, 4-12 team into a blistering, attacking, 11-5 division winner boasting the highest-scoring offense in the league. It was only the second time that an NFL team had accomplished such a dizzying turnaround.

McVay was named NFL Coach of the Year in 2017, yet he insisted on sharing the limelight with his players. “Our guys did such a good job of taking it one day at a time,” he said of the Rams’ first winning season since 2003 and first playoff appearance since 2004. “You can’t look ahead in such a competitive league. We got into an everyday rhythm and for the most part played consistently throughout the season. As the year progressed, the guys started to realize that we were a pretty good football team.”

Coaching supernova. Genius dork. The media found creative names galore for this meteoric rise, but the real question wasn’t how he could so quickly ascend to the top rung of the football ladder so much as how he could possibly fail to. Because, if anyone was born to do something, McVay was born — and bred — to be a football coach.

McVay’s father, Tim, was a defensive back at Indiana University. His grandfather, John, coached Michigan State and Dayton, the Ohio city where Sean was born and spent his first six years. John McVay would eventually earn football immortality as the legendary San Francisco 49ers general manager who teamed up with Coach Bill Walsh and owner Eddie DeBartolo to deliver five Super Bowls to Bay Area fans.

‘Be who you are and don’t be afraid to take accountability,’ Sean remembers his granddad telling him. ‘Listen. Learn. And then you lead.’ “That’s what my dad told me, too. They both taught me the importance of surrounding yourself with people better than you so you can continue to learn.”

Family is just one of the foundations upon which Sean’s success rests. John once told the Los Angeles Times that he knew his grandson was serious about becoming a coach when he was still a kid and would fall asleep reading Bill Walsh’s “Building a Champion: On Football and the Making of the 49ers.”

After making his mark in high school as a star quarterback for the War Eagles of Marist School in Brookhaven, Georgia, Sean played wide receiver at Miami University (Ohio), a school that has produced so many famous coaches — Bo Schembechler, Ara Parseghian, Woody Hayes and John Harbaugh among them — that its nickname is the “Cradle of Coaches.” (It is likely no coincidence that Miami is also the alma mater of a former center by the name of John McVay.)

Sean continued to hone his coaching skills under some of the most successful head coaches in the NFL, including former Washington Redskins boss Mike Shanahan; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Jon Gruden (now head coach of the Oakland Raiders); and Gruden’s brother, Jay, currently head coach of the Redskins. Football fans will notice a pattern in this history: constant exposure to people widely considered geniuses of the game.

“Growing up around football, I’ve been influenced by some special offensive coaches,” said Sean. “Lots of mentors and leaders have allowed me to grow faster than normal. Look at the Grudens and the Shanahans; then supplement that training with the great offensive coaches we’ve assembled in our [Rams] building. The result is an attacking offense that focuses on the fundamentals. Maintaining a balance of runs and passes. Putting our players in the best positions possible.” Which explains why the offenses he calls — with the Rams and everywhere else he’s coached — result in such an abundance of field goals and touchdowns. Interestingly, Sean’s never-ending study of successful coaches is used to devise plays that aren’t so much new as they are executed with extraordinary speed and precision. Case in point: Rams quarterback Jared Goff gets his team to the line right away so he can examine the defense and make adjustments with the coaches before his headset is cut off (which happens 15 seconds before the play clock runs out). Not really groundbreaking; but really, really smart.

Sean’s early schooling in the offensive side of the game began on the field. Savvy observers will look back at his days as a high school quarterback and note his ability even then to deftly balance the pass and the run. At Marist, young McVay was the first player in school history to notch 1,000 yards passing and rushing in consecutive seasons. During his high school career, he rushed for a whopping 2,600 yards and passed for 2,500. As a senior, he led the team to a state championship and was named the Georgia 4A Offensive Player of the Year. Clearly, the offensive prowess of McVay’s Rams is no fluke; he refuses to settle for second best, as we saw in April, when the team traded for speedy receiver Brandin Cooks from the New England Patriots to replace wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

And if that isn’t scary enough for opponents, the 2018 Rams defense, under beloved coordinator Wade Phillips, should terrify them. With the draft yet to come, the Rams piled on three of the league’s best defenders, trading for cornerbacks Aqib Talib from the Denver Broncos and Marcus Peters from the Kansas City Chiefs, and picking up Miami Dolphin defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in free agency.

The fact that Sean is so close in age to his players doesn’t hurt when it comes to building relationships with them. “Socially, or just from a music standpoint, it’s good to have a little bit of swag,” he said. Still, for Sean, the real key is how you connect overall with your team.

“At the end of the day it’s all about relationships…. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” —SEAN MCVAY

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re young or more experienced, like Wade Phillips,” Sean said. “At the end of the day it’s about relationships. I learned that from my dad, watching how he treated everybody with respect and consideration. He told me that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Take these facts and figures and factor in all that Sean has brought to the table and it’s no surprise that there are already murmurs about the Rams being a Super Bowl favorite this season. For now, though, Sean is focused on team building and practice, practice, practice. He’s thankful that the team gets to train at UC Irvine. “It’s a blessing to have that facility and that weather,” he said. “When I coached for the [Tampa Bay] Bucs, that Florida humidity could be brutal.”

Sean promises that fans who climb onto the Rams’ bandwagon will be rewarded with total commitment. “It all goes back to a great group of core players,” he said. “We’re a connected team and we try to play a smart brand of football. We understand that what we did last year won’t get us anything this year.”


The Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District (LASED) is transforming the former Hollywood Park race track site into a 298-acre sports and entertainment complex. The centerpiece of the district is LA Stadium. Beginning in 2020, both the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers will call it home.


• Seating capacity for 70,000, expandable up to 100,000

• 260 luxury suites, more than 13,000 premium seats and almost 3 million square feet of usable space

• A 6,000-seat performance venue located under the same roof canopy as the stadium


• Super Bowl LVI in February 2022

• College Football National Championship in 2023

• Opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Olympic Games

• Sports and entertainment events year-round

Adjacent to the stadium and performance venue, more than 1.5 million square feet of retail and office space, 1,500 residences, a hotel and over 20 acres of parks are slated for development. LASED is situated between three major freeways (the I-405, the I-105 and the I-110).


Orange County locals and visitors have a chance to catch the Los Angeles Rams in Irvine – without even buying a ticket! Featuring shaded seating, a beer garden and theme days, training camp could make for the perfect summer outing.

• The Rams will host their 2018 training camp at the University of California, Irvine, for the third consecutive year, starting at the end of July.

• Training camp features practice sessions at UCI that are open to the public and free of charge.

• Gates open 90 minutes prior to the start of practice.

• Select players will sign autographs following open practices.

• In addition to on-the-field activities, the team offers an interactive kids’ zone, team merchandise and concessions.

• For more information, visit therams.com.


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