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.