Giants special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey revealed Thursday that he has been battling periampullarycancer since the offseason. He has been undergoing chemotherapy for the last two months — often having the treatments in the morning and returning to work later that day — and has several more rounds remaining. But he insisted it will not stop him from fulfilling his obligations to the team.
“It’s tough,” he admitted, “but as a football coach you don’t think about that stuff. You get up and you do what you do and live life. I’m not gonna let any chemotherapy or cancer or anything else get in the way of what I do. I’m a football coach. I’m a father and a football coach. That’s what I do. I have to get up every day. Nobody cares, they’re not gonna feel sorry for you. It’s get up, go to work. You have to earn your paycheck.”
McGaughey, 45, said he had two bouts of sepsis in recent years that led doctors to perform an endoscopy. That’s when they saw a mass on his bile duct. They determined it was cancerous and removed it in an evasive surgery called a Whipple procedure. It was during the Whipple procedure that doctors found cancer in one of McGaughey’s lymph nodes.
McGaughey, in his first season with the Giants, is the second member of the organization to disclose a cancer diagnosis this year. General manager Dave Gettleman was diagnosed with lymphoma in the spring. The two worked together with the Panthers before coming to the Giants.
McGaughey said he never considered taking a break from coaching to deal with his medical condition.
“It was never a thought in my mind,” he said. “I’m sure in my doctors’ minds. In my family’s minds. In my wife’s. But in my mind, I never even thought of it.”
The Giants did bring back Tom Quinn, their former special teams coordinator, to help McGaughey and assistant special teams coach Anthony Blevins. But McGaughey insists that he’s up for handling the rigors and pressures of the job.
“It is what it is,” he said. “We just have to fight through it and keep moving.”