Throughout the ups and downs of the football season, one thing was a constant in graduate assistant Kyle McCarthy‘s first season of coaching. A life or death battle with cancer.
The former Notre Dame safety and team captain returned to campus this year, starting a life in coaching after his NFL career was cut short by injuries. But in the early days of that new journey, McCarthy’s coaching career was sidetracked after he was diagnosed with Stage Three Testicular Cancer.
Before Saturday’s game, the NBC team profiled McCarthy and took a closer look at his fight. And amidst a football season that’s not always had happy endings ever Saturday, McCarthy delivered a much-needed victory of his own when he was declared cancer free last week.
Here’s a look at the profile of McCarthy’s and how he used coaching as an outlet in his battle with cancer.
Notre Dame graduate assistant Kyle McCarthy took to Twitter to share the good news that he’s been given a cancer-free diagnosis. The former Irish captain had been battling an undisclosed type of cancer since earlier this year, staying with the team throughout surgery and multiple treatments.
McCarthy gave the following update via Twitter, declaring himself free of Stage 3 Testicular Cancer:
“Since being diagnosed with Stage 3 Testicular Cancer in July, I’ve had overwhelming support from so many people. I appreciate each and every one of your thoughts and prayers. This has truly been a humbling and eye-opening experience as I’ve undergone chemotherapy treatments and surgeries to fight this terrible disease. Fortunately this type of cancer was treatable, and with the help of amazing doctors and nurses, and incredible support from family and friends, I was given a clean bill of health. I am officially cancer free. I’m excited to put this behind me and turn the page on this chapter of my life. Thank you all for the support! It helped more than you could know.”
McCarthy is a first-year graduate assistant with the Irish after spending parts of four seasons in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders. He was working primarily with the safeties this season, assisting defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks.
As a collegiate player, he was a two-year starter for the Irish, captaining the team in 2009. He went over 100 tackles in both 2008 and 2009, totaling 240 career tackles for the Irish, the second most for a defensive back in school history.
While McCarthy has been limited in his working time, the NCAA a allowed former Irish safety Pat Eilers to work with the Notre Dame coaching staff. Eilers is on sabbatical from his job as a partner in a private equity firm for the season.
Former Irish and NFL football player Pat Eilers has joined the Irish coaching staff. The member of the 1988 national championship team has been named a defensive quality control assistant for the coaching staff. Brian Kelly confirmed that Eilers had joined the staff on Sunday after Irish Illustrated’s Tim Prister broke the news earlier this weekend.
As Kelly mentioned when breaking the news that graduate assistant Kyle McCarthy was taking intermittent leaves from his position as he undergoes chemotherapy, the NCAA has given the Irish staff an allowance to fill his role. That made it possible for Eilers to return to campus, in a unique situation.
Eilers was a two-year starter for Lou Holtz, playing on both sides of the ball as both a wide out and defensive back, starting 18 games and making 34 appearances. The Minnesota native also earned a monogram on the 1989 Irish baseball team.
After earning both a biology and mechanical engineering degree from Notre Dame, he spent six seasons playing in the NFL, playing for the Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins and the Chicago Bears.
After his football career, Eilers earned an MBA from Northwestern and is currently taking a sabbatical from his job as a managing director at Madison Dearborn Partners, a private equity firm in Chicago.
Eilers has four kids, including two daughters that attend Notre Dame.