Sean McVay Coaching Career: Coaching tree, salary, record with Rams, and more

Five years into his NFL head coaching career, let's examine Sean McVay's record with the Rams, his coaching tree, and his salary.

At just 36 years old, Sean McVay is set to coach in his second NFC Championship Game in just five years as a head coach. Let’s look back at McVay’s career, record as a head coach, coaching tree, and reported salary.

Sean McVay’s coaching career

McVay’s career as a coach began in 2008 when he was the assistant wide receivers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under Jon Gruden. The following year, McVay worked with another Gruden brother, Jay, as the quality control/wide receivers coach for the Florida Tuskers in the United Football League.

After a year in the UFL, McVay returned to the NFL. He was hired as the assistant tight ends coach for Washington, with Mike Shanahan as the head coach. McVay was then promoted to the tight ends coach in 2011, a position he would remain in through the 2013 season. When Shanahan was fired, McVay remained with Washington, reuniting with Jay Gruden. Under Gruden, McVay was the offensive coordinator for Washington from 2014 to 2016.

The Washington offense had mixed success under the Gruden/McVay partnership. However, in 2016, they were third in the league in yards and 12th in points. The following offseason (2017), McVay was hired to be the 28th head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

When McVay was hired, he became the youngest head coach in NFL history at 30 years and 11 months. As of Conference Championship Weekend of the 2021-22 NFL playoffs, McVay remains the youngest person to have been hired into a head coaching role.

Record as head coach of the Rams

McVay has been head coach of the Rams for five seasons. In 81 regular-season games as a head coach, he has a 55-26 record (.679) and has won at least 10 games in four of his five seasons as a head coach. In each of those four years, the Rams made the playoffs, where they are 5-3 through eight games (prior to the 2022 NFC Conference Championship Game).

  • 2017 | 11-5 | 1st in NFC West
    Lost NFC Wild Card Round to the Falcons
  • 2018 | 13-3 | 1st in NFC West
    Lost Super Bowl to the Patriots
  • 2019 | 9-7 | 3rd in NFC West
  • 2020 | 10-6 | 2nd in NFC West
    Lost NFC Divisional Round to the Packers
  • 2021 | 12-5 | 1st in NFC West
    Facing 49ers in NFC Conference Championship

Did McVay ever play football in the NFL?

McVay was a star during his time at Marist High School in Brookhaven. As a four-year starter at quarterback, he was the first to post 1,000 yards passing and rushing in consecutive seasons. He rushed for 2,600 yards and 40 touchdowns with 2,500 passing yards and 18 touchdowns. Overall, he led the school to a 26-3 record, winning a state championship in his senior year. McVay was named the Georgia 4A Offensive Player of the Year, winning the award ahead of Calvin Johnson.

After his high school career, McVay enrolled at Miami University in Ohio. He was a wide receiver for his first three years at Miami (OH) but totaled just 39 receptions for 312 yards in those three seasons. McVay graduated in 2008 and made the move to coaching football as opposed to playing football.

McVay’s coaching tree

The start of McVay’s coaching tree can actually be traced back to his family tree. His granddad, John McVay, was the head coach of the New York Giants between 1976 and 1978 before serving in various front office roles with the San Francisco 49ers — including two years as general manager — between 1980 and 1999.

A lot of the credit for McVay’s coaching heritage comes from the Mike Shanahan coaching tree. However, McVay also spent a total of five years working with Jon and Jay Gruden on the Buccaneers, Tuskers, and Washington staffs. The Shanahan and Gruden coaching trees have some crossover, including Kyle Shanahan himself.

In terms of the branches of coaches coming off McVay, this is where things convoluted. For example, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is often credited as being part of the McVay coaching tree. However, LaFleur’s heritage as a coach is also firmly rooted in the Shanahan tree. He was an offensive assistant and QB coach under Kyle Shanahan, first in Houston, then Washington, and then in Atlanta.

Similarly, Kliff Kingsbury is often considered part of the McVay coaching tree. However, Kingsbury and McVay never worked together, while Kingsbury was with Kyle Shanahan in Houston prior to making the move to college. Zac Taylor worked with McVay for two years in Los Angeles prior to being hired in Cincinnati. However, Taylor also has roots with the Joe Philbin/Mike Sherman/Bill Lazor family in Miami.

What is Sean McVay’s salary?

Unlike with players, head coach salaries can often be difficult to locate. According to multiple reports, McVay’s salary is currently $8.5 million per year as head coach of the Rams. Based on the currently reported numbers, McVay is tied for the fourth-highest-paid head coach on a per-year basis alongside Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule.

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