Named prep All-American, All-California, All-Northern California, all-metro and league MVP at both safety and QB at Edison High School ... Completed 56.9 percent of his passes for 2,739 yards and 30 TDs ... Rushed for 400 yards and six TDs ... Credited with five INTs and 123 tackles on defense.
He attended the University of Southern California (USC), and majored in business administration at what is now the Marshall School of Business. As a three year starter, he accumulated 325 tackles and 11 interceptions. He was a consensus All-American as a senior in 1986, and followed a prominent list of All-American safeties who attended USC, such as Dennis Thurman, Ronnie Lott, Dennis Smith, Joey Browner, Charles Phillips, Artimus Parker, Mike Battle, and Mark Carrier. McDonald is one of only six safeties named on the Walter Camp All-Century Team selected in 1999, celebrating the greatest college football players of the twentieth century. He was also a finalist as a senior for the Jim Thorpe Award and the Defensive Player of the Game in the 1987 East-West Shrine Game.
He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the second round (34th pick overall) of the 1987 NFL Draft.In his six seasons with the Cardinals Tim McDonald started 5 seasons.In those 5 seasons he accounted for 605 tackles,2.5 sacks,20 int,6 forced fumbles,7 fumble recoveries,and a defensive touchdown.His best statistical season,and perhaps his finest season ever as a Pro was in 1989 when he recorded a Team leading 155 tackles,7 interceptions for 170 INT return yards,1 fumble recovery and an INT returned for a TD.He was named to 3 Pro Bowls and named All-Pro twice while with the Cardinals. He signed as a free agent by the San Francisco 49ers on April 7, 1993.In 1993 McDonald would again perform at a high level being named to the NFC pro Bowl squad.During that season, he donated $2,000 for every 49ers victory to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Bay Area, netting $22,000 for those organizations.In 1994 McDonald helped the 49ers win Super Bowl XXIX.That Season,McDonald recorded 76 tackles,2 Int,7 passes defensed,1 Forced Fumble,1 Fumble recovery,and 2 Defensive Touchdowns while being part of a San Francisco secondary that sent 3 players to the pro bowl,SS Tim Mcdonald,FS Merton Hanks,and NFL Defensive Player of the Year CB Deion Sanders.That season while teaming with Free safety Merton hanks, they would arguably as a tandem,become one of the best safety tandems in NFL history as they combined for 7 pro bowls and 5 All-Pro selections from 1994-1998 in 5 seasons respectively.McDonald continued his stellar play throughout his entire 49ers career until he retired after the 1999 season Being named to 3 pro bowls and named and 2nd team All-Pro twice.McDonald's Finest statistical season as a 49er was in 1998 as he tallied 133 total tackles,4 sacks,4 INT,15 Passes defensed,and 2 Fumble recoveries. McDonald was voted to the Pro Bowl six times in his career, three times with each team.Tim McDonald was known for being a great All-Around safety and one of the better tacklers and hitters at Strong safety during his playing career.
McDonald coached youth football leading the Malloch Elementary football team to two undefeated seasons from 2001-2003. McDonald coached for his alma mater Edison High School in Fresno, where he coached his sons, Timothy McDonald, Jr. and Tevin McDonald. McDonald left Edison High in the 2010 football season, but came back for 2011 and putting Edison back at the top. McDonald left Edison High in 2012 and was signed as a secondary coach for Fresno State. After one season at Fresno State Mcdonald was signed as a DB coach for the New York Jets.
McDonald and wife Alycia have two sons, Timothy, Jr. (TJ) and Tevin, and one daughter Taryn. TJ played safety at his father's alma mater, USC, and was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft. Tevin played 2 seasons with crosstown rival, UCLA. Tevin was recently dismissed from UCLA, Jim Mora citing his release as a violation of team rules. He transferred to Eastern Washington University.