Coach Jim Fassel, Father of Cowboys Top Assistant, Dead at 71

Longtime NFL head coach Jim Fassel, father of Dallas Cowboys special teams coach John Fassel, has passed away at the age of 71
Publish date:

FRISCO - Former NFL head coach Jim Fassel has died at the age of 71 after suffering a heart attack on Monday, his son, John Fassel said.

John Fassel is the Dallas Cowboys special-teams coordinator.

Jim Fassel was selected by the Chicago Bears in the 1972 NFL Draft, spending time with the San Diego Chargers and the Houston Oilers, but made his greatest impact on the sport as a coach.

He worked in the WFL, USFL, and in college football with the Utah Utes for a number of years before joining the New York Giants as an assistant coach in 1991.

Fassel then built his reputation as an assistant coach with the Broncos, Raiders, and Cardinals before becoming the Giants head coach in 1997.

He made an immediate impact as he was named the NFL Coach of the Year for the 1997 season. New York - a key rival of the Dallas Cowboys - went to the playoffs three times under his direction, including a visit to the Super Bowl in 2000, when his Giants squad lost to the Baltimore Ravens.

As a head coach, Fassel finished his NFL career with a 58-53-1 record, with three double-digit win seasons (in 1997, 2000 and 2002). In his first year as the Giants head coach, in 1997, he was named NFL Coach of the Year after leading the club to a 10-5-1 record after New York had been 6-10 in the year prior.

Following his stint with the Giants, Fassel worked on the offensive staff of the Ravens and then coached in the UFL.

John Fassel is of course absent from Cowboys minicamp at this time.

"John's as big of a family man as we have here," Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy said. "Our heart goes out to him and his family right now. John's love for his family and especially for his father Jim, he's shared many stories in just our short time together."