Jim Fassel, the former head coach of the New York Giants from 1997 to 2003, has died. He was 71 years old.
Fassel’s son, John, informed the Los Angeles Times that his father died of a heart attack in Las Vegas on Monday. The tragedy was confirmed by the Giants on Tuesday.
Michael Strahan, who played seven of his 15 seasons for Fassel, paid tribute to his old coach on Good Morning America on Tuesday.
“Just a great man, great coach,” Strahan said. “And, he will be missed. But, I was definitely shocked this morning to find out this news and I just wanted to send my love and condolences to his family.”
The 1997 NFL Coach of the Year started his professional coaching a career as a quarterbacks coach for the Giants in 1991. He served as Giants offensive coordinator in 1992.
Fassel served in the same capacity for the Denver Broncos in 1993 and 1994, as well as the Arizona Cardinals in 1996. A season later, he was named coach of the New York Giants.
Fassel had a 10-5 record in his first season. In 2000-01, he guided the Giants to a 12-4 record and a Super Bowl trip. Fassel was dismissed by the Giants at the end of the 2003 season.
From 2004 through 2006, Fassel was the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. He finished his coaching career as the head coach of the United Football League’s Las Vegas Locomotives for four years.
From 1974 until 1989, Fassel worked as a coordinator, assistant coach, positions coach, and head coach at the university level.
He attended Long Beach State University and was drafted in the seventh round by the Chicago Bears in 1972.
Fassel also played for the San Diego Chargers and the Houston Oilers. He retired after brief stints with the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts and the World Football League’s Hawaiians.