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John Mackovic
Date of birth October 1, 1943 (1943-10-01) (age 66)
Place of birth Barberton, Ohio
Position(s) Head coach
College Wake Forest, 1965
Miami (Ohio), 1967
Awards 1979 Coach of the Year
Career record NFL
1990 Big Ten Conference
1994 Southwest Conference
1995 Southwest Conference
1996 Big 12 Conference
Team(s) as a coach/administrator
Wake Forest
Kansas City Chiefs
US national team

John Mackovic (born October 1, 1943 in Barberton, Ohio) is the head coach of the United States first national team for American football which was formed to compete in the American Football World Cup. The former college and professional American football head coach led his team to win the 2007 IFAF World Cup tournament.


Coaching career

Mackovic's coaching career began at Miami University (Ohio) as a graduate assistant in 1965. He then served stints as offensive coordinator at San Jose State 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 1978-1980. 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 season before accepting a head coaching job with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1983. 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 NFL-AFL merger. However, owner Lamar Hunt fired Mackovic only days after they were eliminated in the first round due to a lack of chemistry.[1] Specifically, the catalyst behind Mackovic's dismissal was a meeting between Hunt and eight of the most prominent Chiefs.[2] Mackovic's pro record with the Chiefs was 30-34, and was his last coaching position in the NFL.

Following a year off, Mackovic resumed his coaching career when he was hired as the head coach and Athletic Director at the University of Illinois 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 successes of turning around college programs led him to the University of Texas in 1992. Texas had crashed from a Southwest Conference title in 1990 to a 5-6 record in 1991. Mackovic, as usual, didn't take long to the program around. He 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 loss in school history. They never recovered and finished 4-7. Mackovic was fired after the season.[3] 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, unlike at his previous coaching stops, Mackovic never posted a winning record in two-and-a-half seasons in Tucson. He only compiled 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. Ultimately, Mackovic offered a public apology to his players, the university and fans.[4] [2] 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.[5]

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 Conference Standing Bowl Coaches# AP°
Wake Forest (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1978–1980)
1978 Wake Forest 1-10-0 1-5 6th
1979 Wake Forest 8-4-0 3-2 4th L Tangerine
1980 Wake Forest 5-6-0 2-4 4th-T
Wake Forest: 14-20-0
Illinois (Big Ten Conference) (1988–1991)
1988 Illinois 6-5-1 5-2-1 4th L All-American
1989 Illinois 10-2-0 7-1 W Florida Citrus 10 10
1990 Illinois 8-4-0 6-2 1st-T L Hall of Fame 24 25
1991 Illinois 6-6-0 4-4 5th L John Hancock
Illinois: 30-17-1
Texas (Southwest Conference) (1992–1995)
1992 Texas 6-5-0 4-3 2nd-T
1993 Texas 5-5-1 5-2 2nd-T
1994 Texas 8-4-0 4-3 2nd-T W Sun 23 25
1995 Texas 10-2-1 7-0 1st L Sugar 14 14
Texas (Big 12 Conference) (1996–1997)
1996 Texas 8-5-0 7-2 1st L Fiesta 23 23
1997 Texas 4-7-0 2-6 4th
Texas: 41-28-2
Arizona (Pacific 10 Conference) (2001–2003)
2001 Arizona 5-6-0 2-6 8th
2002 Arizona 4-8-0 1-7 9th-T
2003 Arizona 1-4-0
Arizona: 10-18-0
Total: 95-83-3
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches Poll.


  1. ^ Mackovic released. New York Times, January 9, 1987.
  2. ^ a b Fish, Mike: "Apologies or No Apologies, Mackovic Has Had It",, November 15, 2002.
  3. ^ Jim Hodges, UCLA Takes Rout 66, Los Angeles Times, September 14, 1997, Accessed July 17, 2008.
  4. ^ Arizona's Mackovic vows to change after player uprising. Associated Press, 2002-11-15.
  5. ^ Bernstein, Viv. Lack of Communication doomed Mackovic. New York Times, 2003-9-30.

Coaching Record @ cfbdatawarehouse

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Chuck Mills
Wake Forest University Head Football Coach
1978- 1980
Succeeded by
Al Groh
Preceded by
Warren Powers
Walter Camp Coach of the Year
Succeeded by
Vince Dooley
Preceded by
Marv Levy
Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach
Succeeded by
Frank Gansz
Preceded by
Mike White
University of Illinois Football Head Coach
Succeeded by
Lou Tepper
Preceded by
David McWilliams
University of Texas Football Head Coach
Succeeded by
Mack Brown
Preceded by
Dick Tomey
University of Arizona Head Football Coach
2001- 2003
Succeeded by
Mike Stoops


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