D.J. McCarthy, who has won national titles as both a coach and a player, enters his third year on the LSU staff in 2009 as the Tigers’ wide receivers coach. McCarthy joined the Tigers in the spring of 2007 after spending 2006 with UCLA.
In two years with the Tigers, McCarthy has helped develop Brandon LaFell into one of the top receivers in school history, while also overseeing the emergence of Terrance Toliver as one of the up-and-coming young receivers in college football. LaFell goes into his final season with the Tigers with a chance at finishing among the top five in school history in three career receiving categories – receptions, yards, and touchdowns.
In 2008, LaFell earned All-SEC honors after leading the SEC in total receptions (63) and receiving TDs (8), and ranking second in yards (929). LaFell, a junior in 2008, became the fifth LSU player this decade to earn first-team all-conference honors. Senior Demetrius Byrd ranked second on the squad with 37 catches for 513 yards and four TDs.
LSU had eight different receivers catch passes in 2008, with four receivers scoring touchdowns.
In his first year with the Tigers, McCarthy’s influence on the Tiger receivers was evident early as the squad was forced to play without senior Early Doucet for five games. In Doucet’s absence, the Tigers young receivers grew up in a hurry as LaFell and junior college transfer Byrd became LSU’s “go-to” guys.
LaFell, in his first season as a starter in 2007, caught 50 passes for a team-best 656 yards and four scores, while Byrd ranked third on the team with 35 receptions for 621 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns. Byrd caught the game-winning TD with only one second left in LSU’s win over Auburn.
Doucet, despite missing five games with an injury, led the Tigers with 57 receptions for 525 yards and five touchdowns. Doucet, who finished his career ranked third in LSU history in receiving TDs (20), fourth in receptions (160), and ninth in receiving yards (1,943), went on to become a fourth round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals in the 2008 NFL Draft.
LSU had eight different receivers catch passes in 2007 with four of those catching TD passes.
During his one season with the Bruins, McCarthy helped UCLA to a 7-6 mark and a berth in the Emerald Bowl. The Bruins capped their 2006 regular season with a stunning 13-9 win over second-ranked Southern Cal.
Prior to joining the Bruins, McCarthy held the position of wide receivers coach at Central Florida for two years. While at UCF, McCarthy tutored two outstanding wide receivers, both of whom earned All-Conference USA acclaim in 2005.
Brandon Marshall caught 74 passes for 1,195 yards and 11 touchdowns while Mike Walker had 64 catches for 856 yards and eight scores for the Golden Knights in 2005. Marshall, who was a fourth round pick of the Denver Broncos in the 2006 NFL Draft, had seven games of at least 100 yards and finished the year ranked No. 22 nationally in receiving yards per game (91.9). UCF posted an 8-5 overall mark in 2005 and went on to play in the Aloha Bowl that year.
In his first season with the Golden Knights, McCarthy tutored a group of wide outs that included Tavaris Capers, who finished ranked in the top 10 in UCF history in career touchdown receptions. McCarthy also assisted in the development of Luther Huggins, who led the team with 42 receptions for 585 yards.
Before arriving at UCF, McCarthy was the receivers coach at Nevada for four seasons (2000-2003) and was instrumental in the development of record-setting receiver Nate Burelson, who led the nation in receptions in 2002 with 138 catches for 1,629 yards and 12 touchdowns. Burelson set numerous Nevada and Western Athletic Conference records, including receptions in a game with 19 and receiving yardage in a game with 326.
Two of McCarthy's wide receivers at Nevada were picked in the NFL Draft following the conclusion of their collegiate careers. Nate Burleson was a third round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, while Maurice Mann was a fifth round selection of the Cincinnati Bengals. Mann is currently a member of the Washington Redskins, while Burleson caught nine TD passes last year for the Seattle Seahawks.
McCarthy graduated from the University of Washington in 1994, where he played receiver for the Huskies for three seasons. He was a member of the 1991 National Championship team and was part of two Rose Bowl teams. McCarthy ranked second among wide receivers in touchdown receptions his senior season. Prior to transferring to Washington, he attended Long Beach City College for two years.
Following Washington, McCarthy played parts of four seasons in the Arena Football League. He began his coaching career at his alma mater, Boca Raton High School, where he spent two years (1994-95). He then coached at Ft. Lauderdale High School before moving into the college ranks at West Hills Community College in Coalinga, Calif., where he coached the secondary and special teams.
McCarthy spent two years as a defensive coaches' assistant in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders (1998-99), prior to moving to Nevada. He also served as an intern with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the summer of 1998.
McCarthy was born on July 26, 1971, in Providence, R.I. He and his wife Trisha have three sons – Guy, Nathan, and Dylan.
The McCarthy File
Year at LSU: Third (appointed Feb. 21, 2007)
Birthdate: July 26, 1971, in Providence, R.I.
Children: Guy (9), Nathan (5), Dillon (3)
High School: Boca Raton (Fla.) High School
College: Washington, ‘94
1989-90 Long Beach City College (wide receiver)
1991-93 Washington (wide receiver)
1994-95 Boca Raton (Fla.) High School (wide receivers/secondary)
1996 Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) High School (wide receivers/special teams)
1997 Boca High School (assistant coach)
1997-98 West Hills College (secondary/special teams)
1998-2000 Oakland Raiders (defensive assistant – secondary/special teams)
2000-03 Nevada (wide receivers)
2004-05 Central Florida (wide receivers)
2006 UCLA (wide receivers)
2007 LSU (wide receivers)
As a player
1991 Rose Bowl (Washington def. Michigan, 34-14)
1992 Rose Bowl (Washington lost to Michigan, 38-31)
As a Coach
2005 Hawaii Bowl (Central Florida lost to Nevada, 49-48 ot)
2006 Emerald Bowl (UCLA lost to Florida State, 44-27)
2008 BCS National Championship Game (LSU def. Ohio State, 38-24)
2008 Chick-fil-A Bowl (LSU def. Georgia Tech, 38-3)