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Dallas Cowboys’ Coaching Legend Joe Avezzano Passes Away at 68: A Fan’s Take
In the early '90s, when the Dallas Cowboys roared back to life, winning three Super Bowls in four years and rebuilding their name as one of the best franchises of all time, one coach still sticks in my memory. This guy ran up and down the sidelines, the creases in his forehead swelling and his screams heard from microphones yards away. This man was special team's coordinator Joe Avezzano and he recently passed away on Thursday, April 5, 2012, at the age of 68.
I liked the coordinator team of Norv Turner and Dave Wannstedt just fine but I was a huge fan of Avezzano. He was a guy that it was easy to get behind. When something went wrong, he would be there yelling and gathering his troupes to get it right. However, when things did go right, he was jumping up and down, slapping butts and making you smile because you knew he was a guy who loved his job.
Avezzano was a former football player, playing before the merger between the NFL and AFL. He played for the Boston Patriots as a center for one season in the AFL but he was destined to be a coach. In 1968, he started at his alma-mater Florida State and then worked for five other college teams as an offensive coach before Jimmy Johnson called him to join the Dallas Cowboys in 1990.
In 1991, Avezzano won Special Teams Coach of the Year, pretty impressive for his second year in the NFL coaching the position. He won the award again in 1993, as the Cowboys ranked in the Top 10 in all four kicking game categories. Under his direction, Bill Bates helped redefine what being a special teams' player meant. He even co-coached the Cowboys special teams in 2002 while also serving as head coach for the arena level Dallas Desperados.
Avezzano, one of the most exciting coaches in Dallas Cowboys' history, left the team in 2003 when Bill Parcells came onboard and chose not to retain him. He went to the Oakland Raiders as the special teams coach in 2003 and worked there until 2005.
In 2011, the Seamen Milano franchise from the Italian Football League hired Avezzano as their head coach and that is where he died, reportedly due to a heart attack. I will always remember him from his days in Dallas, running up and down the field, willing his team to win. Coach Joe will always be one of the greatest coaches in Dallas Cowboys' history in my eyes..
R.I.P. Coach Joe.
Author Shawn S. Lealos has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma (2000) and has been a Dallas Cowboys' fan since he was a child. His favorite players range from Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett to the Triplets of the 90s and he enjoys talking about all Cowboys' related news, good or bad
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