Notre Dame's McCarthy will coach around cancer treatments

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND —Only a handful of days into Kyle McCarthy’s debut as a Notre Dame football graduate assistant coach, Brian Kelly realized he had stumbled onto someone with so much more to give that the job description called for.

In times of adversity, that is becoming even more apparent.

Kelly, ND’s fifth-year head coach, announced Thursday that McCarthy will take intermittent leaves of absence from the Irish football program while battling cancer. McCarthy, a former captain and standout safety for the Irish, has been assisting full-time assistant Kerry Cooks with the Irish secondary.

“A few weeks ago, I was diagnosed with a very treatable form of cancer,” McCarthy said in a statement released by the university.

“Yesterday, I began chemotherapy as the next step in eliminating this disease. I'm truly blessed to have such amazing love and support from family and friends.

“Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers over the last few weeks. I expect a full recovery and look forward to returning to the team during and after my treatment. Go Irish!”

McCarthy’s playing career ended weeks before Kelly took the head coaching job in December of 2009. His 240 career tackles rank second in school history amongst defensive backs.

McCarthy signed with the NFL’s Denver Broncos in 2010 as an undrafted free agent and played in a total of 12 games for the club over the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He later signed with both the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders but a series of knee injuries ended his NFL career last fall, leading him back home to his alma mater in the spring of 2014.

Notre Dame grad assistant Kyle McCarthy will continue coaching during cancer treatments, but will take intermittent leaves of absence. (Photo courtesy of Blue & Gold Illustrated)