Jim McGuinness was born in Glenties, County Donegal. He was only a teenager when part of a Donegal squad that claimed the county’s first All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in 1992. McGuinness was also a star of Third-Level Colleges football, winning Sigerson Cups with Tralee I.T. GAA in 1998 and 1999 as captain, and again as captain in 2001 with the University of Ulster at Jordanstown (U.U.J.).
Jim was player coach when his club captured their first ever Donegal Senior Club Championship title in 2005. He has represented his Province on a number of occasions winning two Railway Cup Medals, and has also represented his country in the International Compromise Rules Series against Australia in 1998, a series which Ireland won.
In 2010 Jim was manager of the Donegal Under-21 Football Team that won the Provincial Championship for the first time in fifteen years and reached the All-Ireland Final. In July of that year he was appointed Donegal Senior Football Team Manager.
His time at the helm with the senior team has been a major success; in his tenure he has overseen a Donegal team that has won two consecutive Ulster Senior Football Championship titles and this year he guided his native county to win the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final, the county's first since 1992. Donegal's victory in 2012 under McGuinness's management is only Donegal's second ever All-Ireland Senior Championship win in more than 120 years.
On the 9th of November 2012, the Scottish soccer giants Glasgow Celtic confirmed the appointment of McGuinness as a performance consultant. Jim went on to coach their U 16, U 19 and U 20 teams before he left in 2017 to become First Team Coach with Beijing Guoan FC in the Chinese Super League. Jim also assisted the Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley with preparations for the successful defense of the 2014 Ryder Cup.
Jim holds a Master’s of Science in Sport Psychology from Liverpool John Moores University, School of Sport & Exercise Sciences. He previously gained a BSc (hons) Degree in Sport, Exercise and Leisure from the University of Ulster Jordanstown, and a Higher Certificate in Health & Leisure studies from Tralee Institute of Technology. He has previously lectured in Sports Coaching and Sport Psychology at Limavady College, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland.