The recent accident at the Cowboys practice facility made it only fitting to place the spotlight on one of the Cowboy’s coaches injured during the tragedy: special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis.
He’s a tough guy. A former collegiate All-American wrestler for Wyoming, his toughness is the reason Phillips requested his talent in Dallas.
A week and a half after recovering from surgery to stabilize fractured vertebrae in his neck, special team coordinator Joe DeCamillis was back on the field coaching. After signing with the Dallas Cowboys on January 12, 2009, replacing Bruce Read, Joe DeCamillis was officially a Cowboy.
DeCamillis rejoins head coach Wade Phillips after a four-year stint in Denver, where his coaching career began. He was the Bronco’s assistant special teams and defensive quality control coach, under Phillips as a defensive coordinator.
His ties to Dallas don’t stop there; he’s also the son-in-law to former Cowboys running back and assistant coach Dan Reeves, who DeCamillis also worked under during his tenure with the New York Giants.
Entering Dallas, DeCamillis brings 21 years of coaching experience, 16 of those centered on special teams. His most recent stint was with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2006-2008.
In Jacksonville, the team’s 2007 kickoff coverage unit finished fourth in opponents’ averages starting field position, and first in 2008. The Jaguars tied the Washington Redskins with fewest opponents kickoff returns of 20 or more yards (24, to be exact) in 2008 as well.
Phillips wanted to improve the overall game of the Cowboys, concentrating on execution, drive, and dedication. DeCamillis has improved every special teams unit coached with his tough demeanor since he began coaching in 1988, back in Denver. Of his last 15 seasons coaching, one of his special teams players has returned either a punt or kick for a touchdown.
He’s shown his toughness and devotion to the team, after deciding that sitting out for six weeks was not as important as inspiring his players. Hopefully, his team will remain inspired and return the favor on opening day and beyond.
When media asked Phillips what he thought about the early return of DeCamillis, he responded, "He’s looking forward and we’re looking forward to him being out there."