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Thomas McGaughey expected to join Panthers as assistant special teams coach

Brad Nortman

Carolina Panthers’ Brad Nortman (8) kicks the football against the St. Louis Rams during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013. The Panthers won 30-15. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)


The Panthers brought in Russ Purnell as an assistant special teams coach last summer while special teams coach Bruce DeHaven was taking a leave of absence to get treatment for prostate cancer, but the team didn’t renew Purnell’s contract for another season.

They conducted a few interviews for someone to assist DeHaven during the 2016 season and Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports that the team has hired Thomas McGaughey to work with DeHaven. McGaughey was the special teams coach with the 49ers last year, with the Jets in 2014 and at LSU from 2011 to 2013. He worked for the Giants before heading to the college ranks, giving him a history with Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman.

Another candidate for the position also had that history, but former Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn will have to look elsewhere for a coaching job. Former Buccaneers special teams coach Kevin O’Dea also interviewed with the team.

When asked about the decision to make a change at Purnell’s spot, coach Ron Rivera said that the team was looking to the future and all three candidates they looked at were younger than DeHaven and Purnell, both of whom are 67 years old.