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Tom Coughlin press conference: Coach bids farewell to Giants

Full text of Coughlin's remarks.

Tom Coughlin
Tom Coughlin
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

TOM COUGHLIN: I've been the head coach at two Super Bowl conferences; I've been the head coach at two AFC Championship conferences with an expansion team. I'm more nervous at this press conference than anything I've ever done.

I said yesterday it's not a sad day for us, for Judy, my family. This is a little different situation today because Judy and I together a long time ago together we don't say Good-Bye, we just say, Next time. That's really what I'm trying to convey here today, as well.

It's been an honor and a privilege for me to be the 16th head coach of the New York Giants. You only dream about it as a kid. There's no way it can possibly happen. I'm from a little town, Waterloo, New York, up the way here, five thousand people, black and white television when I was a kid, watching the Giants and the Browns. That's about the only two teams we could get.

So for me to stand here as the 16th head coach of the Giants, at the conclusion of a 12-year term, it's quite an awesome experience to say the least.

I want to thank John Mara, Steve Tisch, Jon Tisch; I see Laurie is here, the Tisch family, for their support and trust throughout all these 12 years.

For 15 years I've been a coach of the New York Giants. In that time it's been my privilege to work with many great players, former players, great players, present players, and many great coaches who have served this franchise with class and with dignity.

During this tenure I'm proud to say I've been a member of three Super Bowl championship teams. I want to recognize general manager Jerry Reese and the personnel staffs, the pro personnel, with Kenny Sternfeld, the college with Marc Ross.

I want to thank my coworkers. How do you work someplace for 12 years and not amass an amazing number of friends. These people are all my friends. They share the highs and the lows. This whole franchise rises and falls with the success of our football team, which is the way it should be, and we all bleed blue together.

I want to thank Pat Hanlon, our vice president of communications, whatever title he goes by. Sometimes I'm not too sure about that. Pat has been by my side through everything. In '06 he was right there. As a matter of fact, he deserves all the credit in the world for maneuvering that path through ownership and everybody else to be able to come back in '07, and of course '07 speaks for itself.

I want to recognize our present coaching staff because I think it's important that people know who these guys are and what a commitment they made to this team, their sacrifices, their families, what their families have done, how loyal they've all been to the New York Giants. Special teams, Tom Quinn and Larry Izzo. Strength and conditioning Jerry Palmieri, Markus Paul, and Joe Danos.

On the defensive side of the ball, Steve Spagnuolo, Robert Nunn, Jim Herrmann, David Merritt, Tim Walton, Robby Leonard. Offensively, Ben McAdoo, Pat Flaherty, Mike Sullivan, Sean Ryan, Kevin Gilbride, Craig Johnson and Ryan Roeder.
I want to recognize my upstairs team. Kim Kolby. Kim has educated every head coach since Ray Perkins. Kim has a way about her. She can let you know exactly how she feels without pulling any punches, which is the way most of us around here want it.

I want to recognize, again, a couple of young men who are right by my side in everything that we do upstairs as directed to my coming downstairs and meeting with my team. That is Chris Pridy and Ed Triggs. Those two young men have done an exceptional job over the years helping all of us prepare our football team.

Mike Mestieri, Jon Berger. I put Joe and Ed Skiba upstairs because they have lunch with the owners, they might as well be called part of my upstairs team. That's exactly what they are.

Then to recognize Ronnie Barnes and his medical staff, Ed Wagner, equipment staff, Dave Maltese in video. I have to recognize Allison Stangeby. She is our director of community relations among other things, her staff. Her staff has been wonderful to all of us, players, coaches, and our work with the outside world and the less fortunate. Allison has really, really helped me with my other love in life, the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation. So I thank her for that.

I want to thank Judy, she's my quarterback. She is rock solid. She's what it's all about. Without her, the hub, the strength, that's where it comes from. Everything comes from knowing everything at home is handled the right way. I don't know half what goes on. I never did. I come in the house, everything was great. Nothing was ever wrong. Then later on I'd find out that Tim did this, Tim did that, whatever he might have done. I suppose that's kind of the way it's supposed to be.
Then I want to recognize our four children, Keli, Tim, Brian and Kate. I know Kate is not here. She's in a delicate condition right now. But I want to recognize our kids because, again, the support coming from them, they are the ones. I mean, they know everything. I have two sons that both think they should be general managers. They know every player in the league. They have them all graded.

Probably the strongest one, the one that's closest to me, is Keli, the oldest one. She is my personality, the whole deal. Then the youngest one is the one that gets it all going and makes everything happen, she always has. Love of family, et cetera, et cetera, that's my daughter Kate. I just want those people recognized. I want their spouses recognized, Chris Joyce, Andrea, Suzy, and Chris Snee, my son-in-law, who also just happens to be one of the greatest players in the history of the New York Giants.

Then the 11 beautiful grandchildren, for anybody that missed that one. I look up, I didn't know they were going to be there in these sweatshirts the other day. That's another Kate deal. I came down the tunnel to go out to the field. I see these blue sweatshirts running around. The attack comes with the 11 grandchildren.

Then when we went out on the field, warming up, here they come marching. They had them marching down the sidelines. So to Mr. Mara and Mr. Tisch, you may not have seen the end of that team. There's a couple there you better keep your eye on going forward, for sure.

I also want to recognize the extended New York Giants family. The Giants are a family, but the extended New York Giants family are our fans. Our fans have been fabulous for us. I don't follow social media, but what's going on on social media right now with regards to people trying to recognize me and our family, et cetera, et cetera, has just kind of blown me away.

But to our fans, thank you very much. Thank you so much for your support, including the one guy that sits up here in the tunnel. You know what? This guy never did quite get my name straight. A lot of different names he called me, but never did quite get it right. But I do say thank you to the fans.

What's now? What's next for this guy Coughlin? I don't know exactly what is next for me. But I do know that in this time we will devote a lot of our energy to the Jay Fund Foundation, to specifically the ‘Be There' campaign, which we have promised the New York, New Jersey area, we have promised that the Jay Fund would be here in perpetuity.

We have launched a great campaign. Our goal is $10 million. We're at $6 million. I think we can possibly make that. I won't be in that chair anymore, but I hope people understand that. We are there to help people that have children with cancer. That's what we do. We have no other alternative. We have the best managed, best run, no expenses, et cetera, of any organization anywhere. This ‘Be There Forever' campaign is something that we've devoted ourselves to. I made the pledge we're going to get it done if I have to walk the streets of New York. We will get it done.

In professional football, the goal is to win. We all know that. We understand that completely. But my contention is, when I first brought this up was with our '07 team, my contention is there's a higher ground. There's a greater purpose. That purpose is team. It is the team concept.

Winning, losing, playing hard, playing well, doing it for each other, winning the right way, winning the right way is a very, very important thing to me and all of our coaches. That's what motivates and inspires us.

Championships are won by teams who love one another, who love and respect one another, who play for and support one another.

In the NFL it's important to all 32 owners, to all coaches, whether they be young or old, to realize that we have an obligation to teach these young men the lessons, the principles and the life skills that they will need once their professional careers are over. And they are short-lived, by the way.

While it is the job of the head coach to get the technical football right, obviously that's why we get hired, to make sure the X's and O's are efficient, that the players have a great plan, and that plan allows them to go forth and have a chance to win games. It is our duty to equip these men with the virtues that will last a lifetime, the values like honesty, trust, responsibility, respect, service and integrity, those are the things that we teach in addition to the football.

You see these gentlemen here in the crowd that have played for this organization, they represent what I'm talking about. Not just winners on the field, but better yet winners in life, people you can be proud of. You'd like these people for your next-door neighbor.

John Wooden said, ‘Reputation is what people think of you, character is who you really are.' Character. We try to develop the character of each man who walked through these doors. Character is what endures.

What has become extremely important to me as I've grown in this position is relationships. Relationships have become the primary objective in my career. I still have a hard time when former players, guys who we battled together, they've been corrected, I've been mad at them, they've been mad at me, so on and so forth, after a year or two, sometimes not even that long, they walk up to me and say, I love you, coach. When that first happened to me, I didn't know how to respond. I was like, Whoa, wait a minute. This is a big old tough-guy business. We're not supposed to be able to say that and do that.

I can tell you right now it has become the source of drive for me, is that when our players, whether they're in their career, after their career, when they come back to me and they say, Coach, I love you. They follow that up by saying they've become better men, better husbands, better fathers, better friends because of their experience having been a New York Giant.

While the two Super Bowl trophies right out here are incredible accomplishments, and I'm very proud of them, don't get me wrong, I believe it is the unbreakable bond between coach and player that defines me as a coach and any humble success we might have had here as New York Giant coaches. With that, I will see you all next time. Do I have to listen to any questions (laughter)?

Q. Tom, can you talk about injuries?
TOM COUGHLIN: We revolutionized the science department and we got them there (laughter).

Q. Walking in at that 2004 press conference, what would you tell that guy?
TOM COUGHLIN: What would I tell him? I'd tell him to put his mouthpiece in when he's speaking to the media. That would be one thing (smiling). I'd tell him he's going to work for a great organization, people that will support and back you, people that are real football people. That could be another lecture of mine for the National Football League, which I'll refrain from right now. But they are football people. They don't panic every time there's a missed third down just after you go 6-10 twice (laughter).

Q. Tom, what is your reaction to all the players who have on social media said some beautiful things about you over the last day? What is your feeling about those guys and what do they mean to you?
TOM COUGHLIN: Whether they participated in social media or not, they are all very special people in our lives because we are side-by-side, we're hooked together for life. The guys that were on the '07 team, as I mentioned, Judy is my quarterback at home, Eli is my quarterback here, period, 12 years. God bless him. Maybe 15, 16.

But we're bound for life at the hip. Yeah, it takes some accomplishment to get it done, but it's more about the sacrifice, day-in, day-out grind, knowing people, how consistent they perform, how tough are they, how tough are they. We've lost a little bit of that in our game.

I have a toothache, I'm out of the game. What? You got a what? A stiff neck? I got a stiff neck 24 hours a day every day of my life. What the hell does that have to do with playing?

Anybody else?

Q. Are you a different person now than when you got here?
TOM COUGHLIN: I don't know if I'm any different. I've changed and I've grown and I've developed and I've learned. You better do that or you're dead. So I've done that. I'm better for it. I'm better for the experiences that I've had. I'm better for the people that I've had a chance to coach and be with. I'm better for that. I'm better for the coaches that have been here, the great coaches. I didn't mention Kevin Gilbride, Sr. I didn't mention some of the guys, Perry Fewell, who just went down the road and won the division in Washington. I didn't mention some of these guys. I can't cover everybody. I hope I didn't leave anybody out from this organization.

Q. Your messages are so important. How will you remain involved in the game and with players if at all?
TOM COUGHLIN: I will somehow, some way. I will. My wife will not want me to be home longer than probably 48 hours. There is your coat, don't you have someplace to go?

Q. Have you extinguished your coaching flame, do you think?
TOM COUGHLIN: Not necessarily. Not necessarily.

Q. Do you leave with any regrets?
TOM COUGHLIN: Yeah, sure. There's always regrets. If this was 7-9, I would have been in Mr. Mara's office, Mr. Tisch's offense. How do you lose six games in 30 seconds and not be competitive? Your players play - I will not swear - their tails off.

Q. So if the right opportunity came along...
TOM COUGHLIN: I didn't say that. I said I'm not necessarily done with coaching. Thank you very much for asking.

Q. What would your message be to Eli, who now faces tremendous change and possibly another offense?
TOM COUGHLIN: He can handle it all. He's done it before. He'll handle it again. He's extremely bright. He's extremely competitive. He's what you want a son to be made out of.

He thinks he's the reason. He's not the reason. Eli, it's not you, it's not you. It's us. We win, we lose together. When we lose, I lose. When we win, you guys win. That's the way it is. That's the game. I know what it is. I got the game. I got it.

But what I would tell him, he's going to be right in here in about two days starting to work on next year, just like he always does. That's never going to change. God bless him for it.