John Mackovic

John Mackovic
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1943-10-01) October 1, 1943
Barberton, Ohio[1]
Playing career
1962–1964 Wake Forest
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1965 Miami (OH) (GA)
1969–1970 San Jose State (assistant)
1973–1976 Arizona (OC)
1977 Purdue (AHC/OC)
1978–1980 Wake Forest
1981–1982 Dallas Cowboys (QB)
1983–1986 Kansas City Chiefs
1988–1991 Illinois
1992–1997 Texas
2001–2003 Arizona
2007 United States national team
2014–present Italy national team
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1988–1991 Illinois
Head coaching record
Overall 95–82–3 (college)
30–34 (NFL)
4–0 (international play)
Bowls 2–6
Tournaments 4–0 (IFAF World Cup)
Accomplishments and honors
1 Big Ten (1990)
2 SWC (1994–1995)
1 Big 12 (1996)
1 IFAF World Championship (2007)
1 Big 12 South Division (1996)
Sporting News College Football COY (1979)
Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award (1979)
ACC Coach of the Year (1979)
2x Big Ten Coach of the Year (1988–1989)

John Mackovic (born October 1, 1943)[1] is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the head coach of the Italy national American football team, which was formed to compete in the EFAF European Championship. Previously, Mackovic served as the head football coach at Wake Forest University (1978–1980), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1988–1991), the University of Texas at Austin (1992–1997), and the University of Arizona (2001–2003), compiling a career college football record of 95–82–3. He was also the head coach of the National Football League's Kansas City Chiefs from 1983 to 1986, tallying a mark of 30–34.

Coaching career

Mackovic's coaching career began at Miami University in Ohio as a graduate assistant in 1965. He then served stints as offensive coordinator at San Jose State University and the University of Arizona before serving as offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Purdue University in 1977.

Mackovic earned his first head coaching job in college football, taking over at Wake Forest from 1978 to 1980. Prior to his arrival, the Demon Deacons went 1–10; Mackovic led his teams to a 14–20 record, including their first bowl game in 30 years. In 1979, he was named the Coach of the Year by the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

In 1981, Tom Landry hired Mackovic as assistant head coach and quarterback coach with the Dallas Cowboys, with whom he spent two seasons before accepting a head coaching job with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1983. Mackovic would later name himself his offensive coordinator, a position he held all four seasons with the Chiefs. Mackovic's first three Chiefs teams missed the playoffs. In his final season, the Chiefs made the playoffs as a wild card, their first playoff appearance in 15 years and only their second since the AFL–NFL merger. However, owner Lamar Hunt fired Mackovic only days after they were eliminated in the first round due to a lack of chemistry.[2] The catalyst behind Mackovic's dismissal was a meeting between Hunt and eight of the most prominent Chiefs.[3] Mackovic's record with the Chiefs was 30–34.

Following a year off, Mackovic resumed his coaching career when he was hired as the head football coach and athletic director at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 1988. Mackovic took over a team that went 4–7 before his arrival, but with whom Mackovic led to a 30–16–1, four straight bowl appearances, and a share of the 1990 Big Ten Conference title.

Mackovic's previous success of turning around college programs led him to the University of Texas in 1992. Texas had gone from a Southwest Conference title in 1990 to a 5–6 record in 1991. Mackovic won a share of the Southwest Conference title in 1994 and won it outright in 1995. He also won the inaugural Big 12 Championship Game in 1996. A year later, however, the Longhorns were pounded 66–3 by UCLA, the worst home loss in school history (and the second-worst loss overall). The defeat is known to this day as "Rout 66."[4] They never recovered and finished 4–7. Mackovic was fired after the season.[5] During his tenure, Mackovic led the Longhorns to a 41–28–2 record and three bowl games.

Following his firing at Texas, Mackovic became a college football analyst for ESPN in 1998 for whom he worked until January 2001, when he accepted the head coaching job for the University of Arizona. Frustrated by an offense that was perceived as too conservative, Arizona hired Mackovic as head coach to replace Dick Tomey; however, Mackovic never posted a winning record in two and one-half seasons in Tucson, with a 10–18 record (a .357 winning percentage).

Midway through the 2002 season, Mackovic told tight end Justin Levasseur that he was a disgrace to his family. This and other incidents led 40 players (including future Pro Bowler Lance Briggs) to hold a secret meeting with school president Peter Likins. The players complained about Mackovic's constant verbal abuse, such as an ugly tirade after a loss to Wisconsin. Mackovic offered a public apology to his players, the university and fans.[3][6] However, whatever goodwill that he'd managed to restore quickly evaporated a season later; quarterback Nic Costa said that despite a very talented roster, many players had lost their love for the game due to Mackovic's brusque manner. Five games into the 2003 season, Mackovic was fired and replaced by defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz. School officials said they had to act because it was obvious the Wildcats would not win with Mackovic at the helm.[7]

In 2006, Mackovic again returned to coaching when he was named as the head coach of the U.S. national team. He led Team USA to win the 2007 IFAF World Cup in their first appearance in the American Football World Cup held in Kawasaki, Japan.

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall ConferenceStanding Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1978–1980)
1978 Wake Forest 1–101–56th
1979 Wake Forest 8–43–24thL Tangerine
1980 Wake Forest 5–62–4T–4th
Wake Forest: 14–206–11
Illinois Fighting Illini (Big Ten Conference) (1988–1991)
1988 Illinois 6–5–15–2–14thL All-American
1989 Illinois 10–27–12ndW Florida Citrus1010
1990 Illinois 8–46–2T–1stL Hall of Fame2425
1991 Illinois 6–5*4–45thJohn Hancock*
Illinois: 30–16–122–9–1*John Hancock Bowl coached by Lou Tepper
Texas Longhorns (Southwest Conference) (1992–1995)
1992 Texas 6–54–3T–2nd
1993 Texas 5–5–15–2T–2nd
1994 Texas 8–44–3T–1stW Sun2325
1995 Texas 10–2–17–01stL Sugar1414
Texas Longhorns (Big 12 Conference) (1996–1997)
1996 Texas 8–56–21st (South)L Fiesta2323
1997 Texas 4–72–6T–4th (South)
Texas: 41–28–228–16
Arizona Wildcats (Pacific-10 Conference) (2001–2003)
2001 Arizona 5–62–68th
2002 Arizona 4–81–7T–9th
2003 Arizona 1–4**0–1**
Arizona: 10–183–14**Fired after 5 games
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


TeamYearRegular SeasonPostseason
WonLostTiesWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
KC1983 6100.3755th in AFC West
KC1984 880.5004th in AFC West
KC1985 6100.3755th in AFC West
KC1986 1060.6252nd in AFC West01.000Lost to New York Jets in AFC Wild Card Game.
KC Total30340.46901.000

Coaching tree

Assistant coaches under John Mackovic who became NCAA head coaches:


  1. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
  2. Mackovic released. New York Times, January 9, 1987.
  3. 1 2 Fish, Mike: "Apologies or No Apologies, Mackovic Has Had It",, November 15, 2002.
  4. Chris Foster, UCLA at Texas, and memories of 'Rout 66', Los Angeles Times, September 24, 2010, Accessed September 25, 2010.
  5. Jim Hodges, UCLA Takes Rout 66, Los Angeles Times, September 14, 1997, Accessed July 17, 2008.
  6. Arizona's Mackovic vows to change after player uprising Archived August 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.. Associated Press, November 15, 2002.
  7. Bernstein, Viv. Lack of Communication doomed Mackovic. New York Times, September 30, 2003.
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