Judy Coughlin, wife of former Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, died Tuesday morning at age 77.
Judy was by Tom’s side during his time as Jacksonville's first head coach in 1995 and as he led the Giants to Super Bowl championships in 2008 and 2012.
Tom and Judy had been married for 55 years. She leaves four children and 11 grandchildren.
"Judy was a remarkable woman in every way. She lived a life filled with love and unselfishly gave her heart and soul to others. Judy made you feel like an old friend from the first hug to the last. She was a mother to all on and off the field. For everyone who knew and loved Judy, the enormity of her absence cannot be put into words, but the immense kindness she showed to others will always endure. Our hearts are broken, but we know she is free from suffering and at peace with our Lord,” Tom said in a statement.
Tom revealed last year that his wife had been diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy in 2020, an incurable brain disorder that deteriorates a person's ability to think, speak and control movement.
In 2016, the year that he stepped down as the Giants’ head coach, Tom popularly said, “Judy is my quarterback at home, Eli [Manning] is my quarterback here,” never neglecting to emphasize the importance of her role as the matriarch of their home.
“She was an incredibly bright light for all of us, and we were blessed that she shared her energy, vitality and love with our organization, '' Giants owners Steve Tisch and John Mara said in a statement Wednesday.
Tom wrote about Judy’s diagnosis in a guest column with the New York Times last year, expressing the difficulty of losing his wife to such a debilitating disorder. "Judy's decline has been nothing but gut-wrenching and has placed me in a club with the tens of millions of other Americans who serve as a primary caregiver for a loved one," he wrote.
He relayed a strong message through that pain, about the importance caring for our loved ones:
"I do want the players I coached in college and in the N.F.L. who thought all my crazy ideas about discipline, commitment and accountability ended when they left the field to know that is not the case. The truth is that is when those qualities matter most. A friend said we don’t get to choose our sunset, and that’s true, but I am so blessed to get to hold Judy’s hand through hers."
Judy was very involved in Tom’s Jay Fund Foundation, which has raised more than $13 million for victims of childhood cancer.