Tom Coughlin’s Wife Dies at 77 After Battling Rare Brain Disorder

by Samantha Whidden
Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for New York Philharmonic)

Judy Coughlin, the wife of long-time NFL head coach Tom Coughlan, passed away on Tuesday (November 2nd) after battling a rare and incurable brain disorder. She was 77 years old at the time of her death. 

TMZ reports that Tom Coughlin made the unfortunate news about his wife’s passing in a statement. “My cherished wife and our beloved mother and grandmother, Judy Whitaker Coughlin, passed away this morning at the age of 77,” Coughlin shared. “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.”

Tom Coughlin then said that the “enormity” of Judy’s 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.” 

Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch also issued a statement following the news. “We were saddened to hear of Judy’s passing this morning. 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. As Tom has often noted, his role as head coach ended at the front porch. When he walked through the door, Judy was the boss. Our thoughts are with Tom and the entire Coughlin family.”

Tom Coughlin’s wife was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy in 2020. She is survived by her husband as well as the couple’s two daughters Keli and Katie and sons Brian and Tim. They also have eleven grandchildren. 

Tom Coughlin Openly Discussed His Wife’s Illness in A 2021 Guest Essay 

In a guest essay for The New York Times, Tom Coughlin shared more details about his wife’s rare and incurable brain disorders. “We’ve helplessly watched her from a gracious woman with a gift for conversation, hugging all the people she met and making them feel they were the most important person in the room, to losing almost all ability to speak and move.”

Tom Coughlin then shared that his wife’s health decline has been nothing but gut-wrenching form. “And [it] has placed me in the club with the tens of millions of other Americans who serve as a primary caregiver for a loved one,” he wrote. 

Tom Coughlin explained Judy used to enjoy planning family get-togethers, going on morning walks, and caring for her rose bushes. Unfortunately, the activities became a distant memory following her diagnosis. “Her days are now filled with lying in bed, watching the Hallmark Channel,” he continued. “Sitting in a wheelchair in the sun, and receiving round-the-clock care. And what’s worse, she is trapped inside a body that will not allow her to be the person she was.”