5 things to know about Sean McDermott

Posted Jan 11, 2017

Sean McDermott will be the 20th head coach in team history. Here are five things you may not have known about the Bills new sideline boss.

Sean McDermott will be the 20th head coach in team history. Here are five things you may not have known about the Bills new sideline boss.

1 - Teammate of Tomlin’s
McDermott’s playing career was self-made at the college level. He went from a walk at William & Mary to team captain by his senior season. For two of those seasons Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin was a teammate of McDermott’s with the Tribe.

Tomlin was a star receiver while McDermott, by the close of his college playing career, was an All-ECAC safety.

"He wasn't a fast wide receiver, but he was a long strider,” McDermott told “He has

that length and was willing to go over the middle to make the great catches, but what I

remember the most about Mike was that he was a leader."

It was at William & Mary where McDermott knew he wanted to build a career in coaching.

"I knew I wanted to coach at an early age,” McDermott told “I just love being around the game. That's kind of how I was as a player, and I ended up coaching the spring of my fifth year when [William & Mary] coach [Jimmy] Laycock approached me and asked if I wanted to give it a try. And I'm grateful for it -- that was my start.”

2 - Football family
McDermott grew up around a lot of football too. His father Rich McDermott coached college football as an assistant at Ursinus and West Chester colleges. Their home was also not far from the North Penn high school athletic fields outside Philadelphia, where as a kid he’d go and watch the high school team practice in the summer.

His older brother Tim played football and wrestled as Sean did. They both played multiple positions (quarterback, safety, punter, kicker) in high school. The brothers were high school teammates for one season at North Penn when Sean was Tim’s holder. Sean then finished his high school career at LaSalle College high school.

Tim went on to play college football at Cornell where he was a punter and kicker.

After graduating Tim broke into the NFL as a football operations intern with Jacksonville. After working for a couple of NFL clubs, Tim finally returned home to work for the Eagles as senior director of marketing. Sean, who began working for the Eagles as an intern was now assistant defensive backs coach.

Tim left the Eagles to work for the Washington Capitals before returning to the NFL club in 2010. By that time, Sean was in his second season as defensive coordinator under Andy Reid.

Sean’s brother is currently the Chief Business Officer for the Philadelphia Union, a Major League Soccer club.

3 - A grappler
McDermott was an accomplished football player in high school, but he was even more successful as a wrestler. Though he was an All-Southeastern Pennsylvania defensive back at LaSalle College high school, he was a two-time national wrestling champ in 1992 and 1993.

McDermott won 75 consecutive matches over those two seasons at the 171-pound weight class. Despite his success and the plethora of Division I scholarship offers to wrestle, McDermott wanted to play Division I football, which is why he walked on at William & Mary.

4 - Consistency counts
It’s one thing to preach consistency to your players, it’s another when you can help players develop through that consistent approach. One of McDermott’s best examples might be former Carolina CB Josh Norman.

A raw talent as a fifth-round pick of the Panthers in 2012 out of Coastal Carolina, Norman had a lot to learn, but he bought into McDermott’s demand for consistent commitment to your craft to best advance one’s personal game.

Norman improved his production each season with Carolina before becoming a dominant Pro Bowl level cornerback in his fourth NFL season.

"There's a story of an explorer who marched 20 miles a day regardless of the weather," McDermott told "That's what we talk to the players about. You have to be consistent. You're going to get

to your goals a lot sooner if you're consistent regardless of the environment or atmosphere."

5 - Knowledge seeker
Despite being the beneficiary of working at the elbow of renowned NFL coaches like Andy Reid and the late Jim Johnson, McDermott would make a point to seek knowledge outside just what he learned as an up and coming young coach with the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I took it upon myself to during the weeks of vacation to go study from the teams that were really good

in college (football) such as Virginia Tech, LSU and Texas over the years,” McDermott told the Reporter Online. “That was really, other than sharing football information and football knowledge; that was my only way of building awareness of what was out there.”