Former NY Giants Coach Jim Fassel Dies at 71 from Heart Attack While Under Sedation

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 8, 2021

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 14:  Head Coach Jim Fassel of the New York Giants looks on from the sidelines against the Minnesota Vikings during the NFC Championship Game on January 14, 2001 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants won the game 41-0.  (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Former New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel died Monday after suffering a heart attack while under sedation in Las Vegas. He was 71.

Fassel's son, John, confirmed the news to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.

The Anaheim, California, native was the Giants' coach from 1997 through 2003. He was named the NFL Coach of the Year following his first season leading the staff and guided the franchise to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXV at the end of the 2000 campaign before losing to the Baltimore Ravens.

Longtime Giants star Michael Strahan remembered his former coach on ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday:

Good Morning America @GMA

"Just a great man, great coach and he will be missed."@michaelstrahan reflects on his time with former Giants coach Jim Fassel who has died at the age of 71. pic.twitter.com/jBZMevSw8A

Fassel posted a 58-53-1 regular-season record and a 2-3 playoff mark with New York.

Originally a quarterback, he spent time at Fullerton College, USC and Long Beach State before being selected by the Chicago Bears in the seventh round of the 1972 NFL draft. He also spent time with the San Diego Chargers and Houston Oilers during a single season in the NFL.

He went on to play for the CFL's Toronto Argonauts and WFL's The Hawaiians before starting his coaching career with The Hawaiians in 1974.

Fassel's first head coaching opportunity came at the University of Utah in 1985. He posted a 25-33 record across five years with the Utes.

He made the jump to the NFL level with the Giants as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 1991, and he returned as the team's head coach in 1997 after stints with three other organizations.

"The first year is one of my most proud moments," Fassel told David Russell of NY Sports Day in 2016. "When I took the job I knew there was work to be done. Then I saw all the magazines and we were the only team to be picked last in all of them. I thought 'crap, this might be rougher than I thought.' We became the first team to go undefeated in NFC East play and won the division."

He later guided the Las Vegas Locomotives to back-to-back UFL titles in 2009 and 2010.

His son John is currently the Dallas Cowboys' special teams coordinator. He previously served in the same role for the Los Angeles Rams, highlighted by a trip to Super Bowl LIII at the end of the 2018 season.

"John has always made the best out of not-great circumstances, and I think that's why people like him," Jim told the New York Post's Steve Serby in 2019.

Fassel also worked as as a radio broadcaster for Westwood One after his time in the NFL finished.

He returned to the sidelines with the Locos, who were off to a 4-0 start when the UFL ended in 2012, which brought an end to Fassel's coaching career.