COLLEGEVILLE (AP) - Recently retired St. John's football coach John Gagliardi remembers Denis McDonough as "an awfully sharp guy" and "a very good safety" when he played for the Johnnies.

President Barack Obama has named McDonough as his next and fifth chief of staff. McDonough was a three-year starting safety for Gagliardi, who retired last November with the most career victories of any coach in college football history.

Gagliardi says McDonough worked hard and was "everything you'd want in a student-athlete."

McDonough graduated from St. John's in 1992. He joined Obama's Senate staff in 2006 and went on to serve in a number of roles since Obama's election in 2008.

Former St. John's teammate Steve O'Toole says McDonough "thought more globally" than most college students.

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