Thomas McGaughey Jr. Began Career as Bill Walsh Coaching Fellow

A breakdown of the 49ers 2015 coaching staff in photos.

As a player, Thomas McGaughey Jr. could never quite crack an NFL active roster.

He spent time in training camp and on the practice squad with the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles in the mid-1990s before returning to his alma mater, the University of Houston, in 1998 as a graduate assistant.

But thanks to a program started by the late Bill Walsh and the San Francisco 49ers, McGaughey got a second chance in the NFL in 2001, this time as a coach.

McGaughey secured a Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship with the Kansas City Chiefs and ran with the opportunity. The program, which all 32 teams participate in, is designed to increase the number of full-time NFL minority coaches by allowing fellows to gain valuable experience throughout training camp.

Fourteen years later, the 49ers officially announced the hiring of McGaughey on Monday as the team's special teams coordinator.

To learn more about McGaughey and his path to San Francisco, we dug up four more interesting facts.

OBJ, Honey Badger Were His Pupils

The 49ers new special teams coordinator made several stops before coming to San Francisco.

After serving as the New York Giants assistant special teams coordinator from 2007 to '10 – a stint that included a Super Bowl victory – McGaughey took a job in the collegiate ranks at LSU as the Tigers special teams coordinator.

During his three-year run in Baton Rouge, McGaughey led Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. and Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu to All-America honors as returners.

McGaughey also won an SEC Championship in 2011 with LSU before returning to the NFL last season as the New York Jets special teams coordinator.

Reid Approves

Speaking of LSU connections, McGaughey's hiring with the 49ers got a thumbs-up from another one of his former players.

49ers safety Eric Reid, who played at LSU from 2010 to '12, took to Twitter to express his excitement for McGaughey.

'Sula Connection

Before exchanging his cleats for a clipboard, McGaughey won an NFL Europe World Bowl title in 1997 with the Barcelona Dragons as a safety.

Then when his coaching career began to grow, McGaughey crossed the pond again in 2002 to work as the defensive backs and special teams coach for the Scottish Claymores.

What other notable name was on that coaching staff? You guessed it; new 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula (defensive line).

In San Francisco, McGaughey will try to reignite a 49ers return game that finished last season 29th in the league in punt returns (6.5 yards, no touchdowns) and ninth in kickoff returns (24.5 yards, no touchdowns).

He's on Twitter

A rarity among NFL coaches, McGaughey is actively on Twitter and participating in the larger conversation.

He'll post motivational quotes, pictures and, occasionally, announce a new job or show off his ring collection.

When I get to work every morning now, This is 1st Thing I see! #HighStandards #TheBest #Tradition #History #GoNiners pic.twitter.com/5wK8E8W7As — The Original T-Mac (@CoachTMcGaughey) January 26, 2015

Who wants 2 help the Ole ST Coordinator @LSU get another 1 of these? #GotRings #LetsbeChampionsTogether #GeauxTigers pic.twitter.com/LxfC3PYFk8 — The Original T-Mac (@CoachTMcGaughey) May 19, 2013

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