Sam McGrath joined the Duke coaching staff in July of 2015 and serves in the role of defensive quality control. He spent his first three years with the Blue Devils as a graduate assistant coach, working primarily with the defensive unit.
In both 2016 and 2017, McGrath’s primary focus was with the linebackers, where Duke produced a pair of award honorees in Ben Humphreys and Joe Giles-Harris. Humphreys was an All-ACC selection in 2016 while, one season later, Giles-Harris garnered All-America accolades. In 2017, the Blue Devil defense proved to be one of the best in the ACC, ranking among the league’s leaders in both scoring defense (3rd) and total defense (4th).
During his first year at Duke, McGrath assisted a defensive unit that produced a trio of 100-tackle performers with linebacker Dwayne Norman (114), safety DeVon Edwards (101) and safety Jeremy Cash (101). Led by Cash, the 2015 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Duke was the only team in the league with three players over the 100-tackle mark, and one of only two nationally, joining Tulsa.
A native of Longmeadow, Mass., McGrath previously worked with the Wagner College (2014) football program as an outside linebackers/safeties coach, at Stevenson University (2013-14) as a graduate assistant coach and at Fairleigh Dickinson University (2012) as an outside linebackers coach and assistant special teams coordinator.
McGrath graduated from Brown in 2012 and earned a master’s degree from Stevenson in 2014. He earned a master’s degree in Christian studies from Duke in 2017.
McGrath is married to former Duke diver Abby Johnston, who won a silver medal in the synchronized three-meter springboard competition at the 2012 London Olympics and participated in the 2016 Rio Olympics as an individual 3-meter diver.