A look at Tom Coughlin's legacy in Jacksonville

by: Erica Bennett, Action News Jax Updated:

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PONTE VEDRA, Fla. - The sports world knows him as a disciplinarian and a no-nonsense winner. Tom Coughlin is both those things, but as we learned, he's so much more.

On Monday, the Jacksonville Jaguars announced that Coughlin, the team's very first head coach, would be returning to work for the team as the executive vice president of football operations.

“The priorities for him in his life are really football, his family, his faith and the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation,” daughter Keli Coughlin said.

Coughlin was the Jaguars' inaugural head coach in 1995 and stayed through 2002. He led the team to two AFC championship games. In the midst of that, he could be found in hospital rooms and fundraisers for the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, a foundation he started years ago.

It helps families who are dealing with childhood cancer.

“He’s been doing it since '96. He's impacted this community like no other person that I can think of, and so, to have him back in this community, have him back doing what he does best and investing in the community, is good for the players and good for the organization,” Jaguars offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum said.

Based on the smiles and emotion we’ve seen in children’s hospitals, it's clear Coughlin has supporters both on and off the field.

Keli Coughlin, who serves as executive director for the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation, said her father’s return is right on time.

“He’ll have the wisdom and experience that he's gained in the years that he's been away but still that passion and love for this community and organization,” she said with a smile.

Since 1996, the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation has helped more than 4,000 families and given away more than $6 million in grants to families in Northeast Florida and the New York-New Jersey area.