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Former Cowboys special teams coach Joe Avezzano dies

Joe Avezzano looks on Getty Images

Joe Avezzano, a former special teams coach for the Cowboys, has died of a heart attack at the age of 68.

Avezzano was in Italy when he died, and his death was first reported by an Italian website that covers American football. The Cowboys have confirmed that Avezzano died.

Avezzano spent the last months of his life attempting to export the game he loved to the country of his ancestry, coaching the Milan Seamen of the Italian Football League.

The fiery Avezzano spent 13 seasons as special teams coach of the Cowboys and was a favorite of Hard Knocks viewers for the boisterous way he went about the coaching job. When Bill Parcells became the Cowboys’ head coach and decided not to retain Avezzano, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made Avezzano the head coach of his Dallas Desperadoes team in Arena football. Avezzano would later become special teams coach of the Raiders.

Prior to coaching in the NFL, Avezzano was head coach at Oregon State from 1980 to 1984. His first victory with the Beavers was a 31-28 win over Fresno State in which his team initially fell behind 28-0. At the time it was the biggest comeback in NCAA history.

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65 Responses to “Former Cowboys special teams coach Joe Avezzano dies”
  1. bhindenemylines says: Apr 5, 2012 1:51 PM

    RIP Joe.

    One helluva guy. The Cowboys’ special teams haven’t been the same since he left.

  2. 1010gary says: Apr 5, 2012 1:52 PM

    R.I.P. Joe

    Fun guy to watch on the sidelines.

  3. trolling4haters says: Apr 5, 2012 1:55 PM

    Always a coaching legend to us Cowboys fans. You will be greatly missed coach Joe, may you rest in peace.

  4. pixelito says: Apr 5, 2012 1:56 PM

    Great coach for a many number of years…. Always thought he was a dead ringer for Armand Assante.

  5. jerrod777 says: Apr 5, 2012 1:57 PM

    Sorry to hear that! Our prayers go out to his family at this time. What a difficult time. He was a big personality that loved coaching and excelled at it.

  6. deadeye says: Apr 5, 2012 1:57 PM

    He’s not really dead as long as we can find a way to remember him.

    RIP Joe Avezzano.

  7. jennstergersburnedretinas says: Apr 5, 2012 1:57 PM

    Not a Cowboys fan but I’ll always remember him stalking up and down the sidelines yelling at anyone who came within earshot. Great coach.

  8. mdpickles says: Apr 5, 2012 1:57 PM

    RIP Joe, always enjoyed his animated mannerisms on the sideline. Signed, Eagles fan.

  9. alpod says: Apr 5, 2012 1:58 PM

    Great Scott!
    RIP

  10. thehighhat says: Apr 5, 2012 2:00 PM

    RIP Joe!

    Hated the Cowboys but you looked like a true football coach on the sidelines. Tough as nails.

  11. nineroutsider says: Apr 5, 2012 2:02 PM

    Obviously I’m not a Cowboy fan, but I remember him well and always thought he was a character on the sideline worth watching. RIP Coach.

  12. vikefan says: Apr 5, 2012 2:04 PM

    one of the most energetic & charismatic coaches ever to walk the sidelines

    RIP, sympathies to his family & Cowboys family

  13. hastekilled says: Apr 5, 2012 2:05 PM

    RIP Coach Joe. Thank you for everything!

  14. hendawg21 says: Apr 5, 2012 2:05 PM

    Diehard Skins fan but my condolences go out to Joe shame to see anyone pass away no matter what…

    R.I.P. Joe Avezzano

  15. mnlittle says: Apr 5, 2012 2:05 PM

    The world is a lesser place without Coach Joe. RIP

  16. joecool16280 says: Apr 5, 2012 2:08 PM

    He was a class act. Condolences to his family.

  17. sports_dude says: Apr 5, 2012 2:09 PM

    Cowboys Legend.

    Rest in Peace Coach, you will be missed.

  18. dalucks says: Apr 5, 2012 2:09 PM

    God bless and prayers go out to his family.

  19. phinfan527 says: Apr 5, 2012 2:09 PM

    Think I remember seeing him when David Blaine went to the Cowboys facilities and did magic tricks in front of Deion etc. RIP.

  20. boswivel says: Apr 5, 2012 2:10 PM

    Great coach for a many number of years…. Always thought he was a dead ringer for Armand Assante.

    ________________

    Yes! With a hint of Dennis Hopper. RIP Mr. Avezzano.

  21. bigbluedeadhead says: Apr 5, 2012 2:10 PM

    *I* even liked that guy (Giants fan…).

  22. usagi7 says: Apr 5, 2012 2:10 PM

    I remember seeing him on that “4th and Long” Spike reality TV show. Seemed like a good guy and coach. Sad news.

  23. cowboys282 says: Apr 5, 2012 2:12 PM

    Coach Joe was such an easy guy to like and root for. To young to go. RIP Joe you will always be in the hearts of Cowboys fans.

  24. lumpinyourthroat says: Apr 5, 2012 2:14 PM

    Me and a whole bachelor party rolled up on Joe in Reno while he was gambling with his wife. Could not have been a nicer guy. I mean who wants a bunch of fueled up twenty somethings breathing booze on you and you’r wife while you are trying to decide to hit or stand. He acted as if he was part of the crew. What a great guy! You will be missed Joe! R.I.P Mr. Avezzano!

  25. daysend564 says: Apr 5, 2012 2:14 PM

    RIP Joe!

  26. agelardi says: Apr 5, 2012 2:15 PM

    Sorry for his family’s loss. But we all gotta go and Italy is not a bad place to spend your final days.

  27. wipackman1265 says: Apr 5, 2012 2:21 PM

    Good Man …………. Rest in Peace Joe !!!!

  28. emoorm says: Apr 5, 2012 2:21 PM

    Coach Joe did a great job! From coaching special teams to even appearing on that “4th and Long” tv show.

    R.I.P. Joe

    Sign,

  29. teague31 says: Apr 5, 2012 2:22 PM

    RIP

  30. daninms says: Apr 5, 2012 2:23 PM

    RIP Coach Joe.

  31. starfan79 says: Apr 5, 2012 2:23 PM

    This guy was football

  32. bison4me says: Apr 5, 2012 2:24 PM

    As a Redskins fan, I’m deeply saddened.

  33. cowboylover says: Apr 5, 2012 2:24 PM

    Awwww…..Farewell Coach Joe!

  34. firstpitchslam says: Apr 5, 2012 2:27 PM

    This guy had the greatest intense eyes of anybody I’ve ever seen. Looked like if you didn’t make the tackle he was going to bite your left ear off! RIP

  35. kelvinmchale says: Apr 5, 2012 2:31 PM

    Interesting that Parcells let him go and it was a botched special teams play that cost the Tuna his only chance at a playoff win in Big D.
    RIP Joe.

  36. kingdavid56 says: Apr 5, 2012 2:32 PM

    RIPJoe, he was fun to watch on the sidelines. Cowboy nation has not been the same without him on the sidelines.

  37. buckybadger says: Apr 5, 2012 2:32 PM

    RIP Coach.

    I find interesting the newspaper that covers the NFL. I wonder how much of that is going on, could be another sign that there will be a division of teams over there soon.

  38. 8man says: Apr 5, 2012 2:38 PM

    The facts that he was still coaching and once led the Oregon State is enough for me. He went the way a man wants to go, doing what he loves best and being able to do it. God bless and RIP!

    28-0? Sounds like the Beavers were really getting pounded.

  39. shuafasho says: Apr 5, 2012 2:41 PM

    The NFL is a little less intense today. Great coach with great passion for the game. You have been missed on the sidelines, and will be missed for years to come.

    RIP Coach.

  40. kwgator says: Apr 5, 2012 2:51 PM

    MARTY!!!!!!!

    RIP

  41. txxxchief says: Apr 5, 2012 2:52 PM

    Sorry to hear of his passing. He was a gregarious man, and I had the please of briefy meeting him years ago.

    However, are there any other teams in the Italian Football League named after body fluids?

  42. godofwine330 says: Apr 5, 2012 2:55 PM

    I remember coach Joe. R.I.P.

  43. ninerfan94954 says: Apr 5, 2012 2:56 PM

    Godspeed Joe…not a Cowboy fan… but you were an excellent coach. R.I.P.

  44. wetpaperbag3 says: Apr 5, 2012 2:58 PM

    Joe was crazy…like a fox! I remember his brief stint in Oakland. The man would spout obscenities so outlandish and vulgar, you couldn’t help BUT to laugh! It was like having Gunnery Seargeant Hartman from the movie Full Metal Jacket directing special teams. Joe was one of a kind and I’m gonna miss his spirit.

  45. johnnyb216 says: Apr 5, 2012 3:08 PM

    Boy, 68 just seems too young. It really makes me worry about my own family. RIP Joe.

  46. lonniejw says: Apr 5, 2012 3:09 PM

    This SUCKS!!! He was one of my favorite Cowboys coaches of all time. RIP, Coach Joe!!!

  47. screwstontexans says: Apr 5, 2012 3:09 PM

    I saw him on the old Hard Knocks episode leading into the 2002 season a couple of days ago. Could of cared less about the coaches but when I saw him getting interviewed by Hard Knocks he was the only one that stuck with me because his passion for football came out through the way he was talking, I was so compelled by him I read up on him on wikipedia. He really a class act guy from what I can tell and lived and breathed football, and for that I have the upmost respect for him. RIP Mr. Avezzano

  48. 1972wasalongtimeago says: Apr 5, 2012 3:13 PM

    I made a great joke incorporating the name of the team he coached flying all over the field and it got censored.

    What is that all about?

  49. dznutz28 says: Apr 5, 2012 3:20 PM

    I loved listening to Coach Joe on the radio and especially enjoyed the years when he was coaching special teams for the Cowboys. Keeping him and those grieving his loss in my prayers. It’s a sad day.

  50. raiderlyfe510 says: Apr 5, 2012 3:20 PM

    RIP Coach

    Once a Raider, always a Raider.

  51. briang123 says: Apr 5, 2012 3:21 PM

    “…coaching the Milan Seamen of the Italian Football League.” I can’t be the only one that laughed like Beavis and Butthead when I read that.

    All I remember of this guy is that seemingly every 5 minutes Fox would show him pacing up and down the sidelines with an angry look on his face, like he was something special. I am glad Fox has gotten away from showing Cowboys’ assistant coaches every other frame like we care. Oh wait….

  52. hellswitch says: Apr 5, 2012 3:24 PM

    One of the most animated and talented coaches I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. Sometimes he we more entertaining than the football game.

  53. hellswitch says: Apr 5, 2012 3:25 PM

    “was”… I need to learn how to type.

  54. 28purple4mvp says: Apr 5, 2012 3:25 PM

    R.I.P JOE

  55. xx4zu1 says: Apr 5, 2012 3:33 PM

    RIP Joe.
    This is one that Parcells got wrong the Cowboys special teams suffered after he was left. A great man has moved on and we should all take a moment to reflect on his life.

  56. shackdelrio says: Apr 5, 2012 3:35 PM

    Rest in peace Joe.

  57. dirtybird28 says: Apr 5, 2012 3:36 PM

    RIP Joe, we will miss you

  58. mnfaninaz says: Apr 5, 2012 3:45 PM

    R.I.P. Coach!

    Sincerely,
    Vikings fans

  59. hellswitch says: Apr 5, 2012 3:45 PM

    Brian123 – hey dumb ass… He didn’t just coach with Dallas during his career. Now go back out and start kicking your dog again. After that go back inside of your double wide, crack open another Schlitz and put the VHS of Beavis and Butthead (season 1) in and yell for the wife to get supper ready. Pathetic.
    ——————————————-
    briang123 says: Apr 5, 2012 3:21 PM

    “…coaching the Milan Seamen of the Italian Football League.” I can’t be the only one that laughed like Beavis and Butthead when I read that.

    All I remember of this guy is that seemingly every 5 minutes Fox would show him pacing up and down the sidelines with an angry look on his face, like he was something special. I am glad Fox has gotten away from showing Cowboys’ assistant coaches every other frame like we care. Oh wait….

  60. cowboylover says: Apr 5, 2012 5:25 PM

    How on earth do I get 5 THUMBS DOWN for wishing Coach Joe a farewell???????

  61. davekva72 says: Apr 5, 2012 5:37 PM

    The man was the definition of a coach. The team he coached for years gave him the boot, he coached Arena league. Arena league team folds, he coached for the Raiders. The Raiders let him go, he goes to coach in friggin Italy! Love or hate the teams he coached, you gotta respect that guy!

    Rest in peace Joe, you’ve earned it.

  62. macarthurtexas says: Apr 5, 2012 5:53 PM

    RIP, Joe.

    Seriously, what are folks on here saying when they do a ‘thumbs down’? You just might be a a-hole if you give a thumbs down on someone’s death.

  63. gergie1957 says: Apr 5, 2012 6:04 PM

    He was a football guy. He always looked like he wanted to get in the game and tackle someone.

  64. mediahyperbole says: Apr 5, 2012 6:56 PM

    Sudden & Sad…RIP Joe!

  65. jarobinewsome says: Apr 5, 2012 8:20 PM

    I always liked him…a straight up football guy. Wish he was still coaching the special teams!!

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