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Beyond The Visor: Saints Special Teams Coordinator Greg McMahon

When last we heard from Greg McMahon at the Senior Bowl on January 25, he was taking some heat for the poor performance of the Saints special teams in the wild card playoff loss to the Seahawks that ended the Saints 2010 season.

Now we have the opportunity, through the continuing saga of Beyond the Visor, to learn more about his roots and how he made his way to the New Orleans Saints coaching staff.

In case you missed them, the three previous installments of Beyond the Visor can be found here

Make the jump to read more about the coaching life and times of Greg McMahon.

Greg McMahon was born on January 2, 1960, in Rantoul, Illinois. He is in his sixth year with the Saints, and his fourth as CEO/President of the special teams.

McMahon was a defensive back on two Eastern Illinois football squads that played for Division II National Titles during his time there, winning it all in 1978, and appearing in the big game again in 1980. Go, you mighty Panthers - OVC! OVC! OVC! He earned a degree in psychology from EIU in 1982, which makes me wonder, has Greg had more success with the Freudian or Jungian approach in regard to the psyche of Garrett Hartley?

From 1983 to 1991, McMahon really got around, coaching at Minnesota, Southern Illinois, North Alabama, Valdosta (Ga.) State, and Nevada-Las Vegas.

In 1992, he joined the University of Illinois football coaching staff, where he would remain until 2004, working primarily with special teams, tight ends, and receivers. He was first handed the reigns of the Illini special teams in 1997.

Before joining the Saints in 2006, McMahon spent one year as tight ends/special teams coach for the East Carolina Pirates. (AARGH!!)

Greg's first two seasons with New Orleans were as the assistant special teams coach, under then-coordinator John Bonamego.

In an interesting turn of events, Bonamego (who spent 2008-2010 coordinating the Dolphins' special teams) has returned to the Saints for 2011 as the assistant special teams coach. He replaces Mike Mallory, who moved over to help coach the secondary under the promoted Tony Oden, who replaced Dennis Allen, who flew the coop to Denver to be the Broncos' defensive coordinator. For more details on this spinning carousel, go here

Now, where was I? 

Oh yeah, McMahon has been in charge of the special teams since 2008, and here's what the Saints official web site has to say about his whole five years with the special teams:

His tenure with the club has been defined by solid performances by the kicking game, the coverage units and the returners.

With McMahon stressing opportunistic play over the last five seasons, the Saints have recovered 13 fumbles on special teams, scored eight touchdowns -including five on punt returns - and blocked a punt, a pair of field goals and an extra point.

(Discussion questions for the comment thread - what do you think of the veracity of this characterization/assessment and statements? If you feel they are accurate, what is their overall significance?)

McMahon is married to Linda, and they have three children: Drew, Sam, and Lisa. (My guess is they are named after Drew Brees, Sam Mills, and Lisa something or other from the Saintsations - what a dedicated coaching family they are.)

That's it for this installment of Beyond The Visor. Can't wait to see you next time! Try to stay sane until then...

(Information for this story came from the Greg McMahon page of the Saints official web site.)