Coach Joe, as he was affectionately known to players, fellow coaches and Cowboys fans across the globe, passed away suddenly today at the age of 68. Reportedly, Joe Avezzano was working out on a treadmill in Italy (as he was recently hired to coach the Milano Seaman of the Italian Football League) when he apparently suffered a heart attack.
Avezzano will always exist in the hearts of Cowboys fans for being the fiery sideline personality making his way onto the field to congratulate the Kenny Gant's of the world for making devastating special teams stops during the 90's. He served as the Special Teams coach of Dallas during their three Super Bowl runs, from 1990 - 2002, but wasn't retained when Bill Parcells took over in Dallas.
Avezzano won three Special Teams Coach of the Year awards during that span. He also served as ST coach of the Oakland Raiders for three years and coached the Arena League Dallas Desperados where he won a division title.
Coach Joe played collegiate ball at Florida State University and spent a short time in the AFL with the Boston Patriots in 1966.
To editorialize just a bit, allow me to say that I was really a big fan of Coach Joe, like most of you probably were. To me, he was as much of a symbol of the great '90's run as Jimmy Johnson, Emmitt, Troy and Michael. His enthusiasm knew no bounds and he probably got me hype more than most players that ever touched the field.
He'll truly be missed.