Well-deserved honor: Tom Coughlin to be inducted into Pride of the Jaguars next year

Tom Coughlin

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tom Coughlin is next up for the Pride of the Jaguars.

The team announced on Thursday that Coughlin, the first head coach and general manager in franchise history, will be inducted into the team’s hall of fame — the Pride of the Jaguars — next year, a long overdue honor.

Coughlin built the expansion Jaguars into a playoff team in just his second year (1996) and laid the foundation for the greatest stretch of football in franchise history. Coughlin was 68-60 from 1995 to 2002 in Jacksonville.

He took the Jaguars to four consecutive playoff seasons and a pair of AFC championship games (1996, ‘99). The best record in franchise history (14-2 in 1999) was under Coughlin. He later returned in an executive role and oversaw a 2017 team that reached the AFC title game.

After his coaching tenure in Jacksonville ended, Coughlin coached the Giants to a pair of Super Bowl wins over the Patriots. He was one of 12 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the Coach/Contributor category this year for the first time.

While Coughlin coached in New York and later returned to Jacksonville in an executive vice president of football operations role in 2017 — a job he was fired from abruptly in December 2019 — he truly never left town. Coughlin put roots down in Jacksonville through his Jay Fund Foundation, an organization he started in 1996 to help support families through the challenges of navigating childhood cancer.

That mission became personal to Tom, his late wife, Judy, and daughter, Keli. The foundation has given away more than $20 million since its inception. Keli is the Jay Fund’s CEO.

Coughlin will join Tony Boselli (2006 Pride inductee), former owners Wayne and Delores Weaver (2012), Fred Taylor (2012), Mark Brunell (2013) and Jimmy Smith (2016) as the only members in the team’s hall of fame. Boselli, a 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, was Coughlin’s first draft pick. His jersey No. 71 was retired last year.

“The story of the Jaguars cannot be told without Tom Coughlin and the influence he had on our expansion team and new fan base here in North Florida,” said Boselli. “He is our foundational figure and the initial architect. He built our football operation and set it up for sustained success. Beyond all the remarkable on-field achievements, he also showed everyone how an NFL team could win off the field by positively impacting the communities surrounding us. Speaking for the PRIDE and the entire Jaguars organization, we are collectively excited to celebrate Coach and thank him for positive impact his NFL legacy will forever have on the Jaguars and throughout Jacksonville.”

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.