Judy Coughlin, the wife of two-time Super Bowl champion coach Tom Coughlin, has died at the age of 77, the Coughlin family announced in a statement obtained by ESPN's Jordan Raanan on Wednesday (November 2).
"My cherished wife and our beloved mother and grandmother, Judy Whitaker Coughlin, passed away this morning at the age of 77," the statement read. "Judy was a remarkable woman in every way. She lived a life filled with love and unselfishly gave her heart and soul to others. Judy made you feel like an old friend from the first hug to the last. She was a mother to all on and off the field. For everyone who knew and loved Judy, the enormity of her absence cannot be put into words, but the immense kindness she showed to others will always endure. Our hearts are broken, but we know she is free from suffering and at peace with our Lord."
Tom Coughlin -- who coached the Jacksonville Jaguars during the franchise's first eight seasons and later returned as an executive after 12 seasons with the New York Giants, which included two Super Bowl victories -- announced his wife was diagnosed with the brain disorder, progressive supranuclear palsy, last year in a heartbreaking column for the New York Times.
"I've spent my entire life preparing for some of the biggest games a person could play, but nothing can prepare you to be a caregiver who has to watch a loved one slip away," Coughlin wrote at the time. "I am not seeking sympathy. It's the last thing I want. It's the last thing that most caregivers want. Taking care of Judy is a promise I made 54 years ago when she was crazy enough to say 'I do.'
"I do want the players I coached in college and in the NFL who thought all my crazy ideas about discipline, commitment and accountability ended when they left the field to know that is not the case. The truth is that is when those qualities matter most. A friend said we don't get to choose our sunset, and that's true, but I am so blessed to get to hold Judy's hand through hers."
Both of Coughlin's former NFL teams issued statements in response to Judy Coughlin's death on Wednesday.
“We were saddened to hear of Judy’s passing this morning," the Giants wrote. "She was an incredibly bright light for all of us, and we were blessed that she shared her energy, vitality and love with our organization. As Tom has often noted, his role as head coach ended at the front porch. When he walked through the door, Judy was the boss. Our thoughts are with Tom and the entire Coughlin family.”
It was a privilege for me to know Judy Coughlin, if only for a short while," said Jaguars Owner Shad Khan in a statement shared on behalf of the franchise. "Judy was everything I had been told to expect when her husband Tom returned to the Jaguars in 2017 – kind, energetic, optimistic and an inspiration. I personally saw the love and support Tom had for Judy, so I am saddened for Tom, his family and everyone who was positively impacted by Judy here in Jacksonville and beyond. Judy was truly a force for good and will be deeply missed by all."
Judy Coughlin is remembered for having championed philanthropy, touching the lives of others through the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, named in honor of her husband and Jay McGillis, who played safety on Coughlin's Boston College teams -- where he coached from 1991-93 -- prior to his death at the age of 21 following a battle with leukemia.
The fund aims to provide financial, emotional, and practical support for the families affected by pediatric cancer.
"On behalf of the Jaguars organization, we extend our deepest sympathies to Coach Coughlin and his entire family and encourage the Jaguars community to show their support by learning more about the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund," read a statement by the Jaguars. "May Judy's tireless commitment to caring for children and families impacted by cancer continue to inspire us all."
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