Former Cowboys, Chargers, Rams, Patriots OC Ernie Zampese Dies at Age 86

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 29, 2022

Set Number: X46583

Former NFL assistant coach Ernie Zampese has died at the age of 86, via ESPN.

The longtime coach worked in the NFL from 1976-2004, spending 14 years as an offensive coordinator with the Rams, Cowboys, Chargers and Patriots. In 1995, he helped the Cowboys win the Super Bowl title with the No. 3 scoring offense in the league.

His son, Ken Zampese, is currently the quarterback's coach of the Washington Commanders, who released a statement Monday:

Washington Commanders @Commanders

We mourn the loss of Ernie Zampese, father of QB coach Ken Zampese, and one of the most innovative offensive minds throughout his long NFL coaching career. Our hearts are with Ken and the entire Zampese family.

Former Washington coach Norv Turner also praised Ernie Zampese.

"Ernie was doing stuff in the 70s and the 80s that people today think are new and it isn't," Turner told Chris Mortensen of ESPN. "... He loved teaching, creativity, game plans. He touched a lot of players and coaches and I'm one of them. And you won't find anyone who knew him that has a bad word about him."

Zampese worked with Turner with the Los Angeles Rams from 1987-90, and he coached under Barry Switzer, Joe Gibbs, Pete Carroll, Don Coryell, Chuck Knox and others during his career.

He worked with John Madden at the start of his career at Hancock Junior College, also spending time at San Diego State before moving on to the professional level.

"Ernie Zampese was one of the brightest offensive minds in the history of the game - many of his offensive concepts are still being used to this day," Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman said on Instagram.

Aikman was one of several Pro Bowl quarterbacks to play for Zampese during his coaching career, including Dan Fouts, Jim Everett and Drew Bledsoe.


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