Joe Avezzano, who was the head coach of the Oregon State football team from 1980-84, passed away at the age of 68 on Thursday.
Avezzano was the special teams coach for the Dallas Cowboys from 1990 through 2002 and won three Super Bowl rings and was named the NFL’s special teams coach of the year three times during that span.
He was recently hired as the head coach of the Milano Seamen of the Italian Football League and it is reported he died of a heart attack while working out on a treadmill in Italy.
“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,” team owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. “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. 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.”
Avezzano’s coaching career began in 1968 at Florida State, where he had played. He went on to coach at Iowa State, Pittsburgh, and Tennessee before moving to Corvallis. After his run with the Beavers, he coached the offensive line at Texas A&M from 1985-1988.
He worked under Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer and Dave Campo during his time with the Dallas Cowboys. In 2002, he became the head coach of the Dallas Desperados, an Arena Football League team.