NBC 5 has confirmed some sad, sad news today.
Former Dallas Cowboys’ special teams coach staple of the DFW community Joe Avezzano passed away in Italy Thursday at about 10 a.m., Dallas time, at the age of 68.
“Joe Avezzano was a very special part of our Dallas Cowboys family and our organization’s history. He was also a wonderful father, husband and friend. No one enjoyed life more than Joe, and no one that I know had a greater appreciation for the people that he loved and the lives that he touched," said Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys. "We grieve with Diann and Tony and the thousands of fans who loved Coach Joe. He was an original. There was no one else like him.”
Chris Boniol, who was drafted by the Cowboys in 1994, had this to say about his former coach:
"Joe loved being a Dallas Cowboy, and he cared an awful lot about being part of this organization. He also cared a great deal about having his players be as prepared as possible to do their job. He had a very high standard for performance and production from his players. He was also entertaining and could coach with a sense of humor. He was unique in that he could bring humor into the meeting room without having it affect his authority. He made it fun to play for him, but he always demanded respect," said Boniol.
Avezzano joined the Cowboys’ staff in 1990, under Jimmy Johnson, and stayed in Dallas through the 2002 season. He served as the head coach of the Dallas Desperados of the Arena Football League from 2002 to 2003, before joining the Raiders as the special teams coach under Norv Turner, with whom he coached in Dallas.
After being let go by the Raiders, following the 2005 season, Avezzano spent a few years away from football and, among other endeavors, appeared in Michael Irvin’s reality show “4th and Long” and opened a sports bar in the area, “Hat Tricks.”
In September of last year, he agreed to become the head coach of the Milano Seamen, of the Italian Football League.
Avezzano remains the only person to be named the NFL’s Special Teams Coach of the Year--as voted on by the NFL’s special teams coaches--three times.
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