Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Daughter Sees Other Side of Tom Coughlin

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Daughter Sees Other Side of Tom Coughlin

Article excerpt

Byline: Teneshia L. Wright, Times-Union sports writer

She looks like Tom Coughlin, has his workaholic attitude, calls herself daddy's little girl and became a certified athletic trainer because of her father's influence.

But Keli Coughlin, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed female image of the Jaguars coach, draws the line at One Alltel Stadium Place.

"I wouldn't want him to be my boss at work, too," said Coughlin, the head athletic trainer at the University of North Florida.

Not that she takes the side of Jaguars fans who post their feelings on the firetomcoughlin.com Web site.

The oldest of Judy and Tom Coughlin's four children, she has witnessed all of her father's highs and lows with the Jaguars as a regular in the family's luxury suite at Alltel Stadium. She thinks "he's worked harder this year than he has before."

She admits she doesn't get as many "cool", "that's great" and "he's a good coach" comments when strangers recognize her last name and family resemblance as she did in the first few years of the Jaguars' existence. Rather than speculate about her father's future as he tries to prevent the club's third consecutive losing season, the 33-year-old prefers to focus on the side of the Jaguars coach that she sees through the baby-blue eyes he passed on to her.

"Unfortunately, a lot of times some of the only things people see is media clips of him ranting and raving down the sidelines. That's not what he's always like," Keli Coughlin said. "He's very serious about his job, and he gives 110 percent when he's at work. But when he's at home, he relaxes and enjoys spending time with his family.

"What a lot of people don't know is how much care and concern he has for the community, and how much he really tries to go out of his way to do things, especially for children with cancer in our community and not necessarily things the media sees and people see. He's doing it because it's the right thing to do."

She watched her father mourn Lyla Burchnell, a 2-year-old girl who died of leukemia on Sunday. Coughlin received a voice message from Lyla's father when he arrived to work at about 9:30 a.m., three-and-a-half hours before the Jaguars' game with Cleveland was scheduled to begin. …

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