Jim Fassel has died of a heart attack at the age of 71 (via the Los Angeles Times). Fassel coached in the NFL from 1991 through 2006 and is known best for his time with the Giants.
Fassel broke into the pro ranks with the Giants and became one of three head coaches in franchise history to lead the team to a Super Bowl. In 1997, his first year as the Giants’ head coach, Fassel was named the NFL’s Coach of the Year. From 97 through ’03, Fassel guided the Giants to three playoff appearances. All in all, Fassel went 58-53-1 as the Giants’ HC.
After his first Giants stint, Fassel served as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator (1993-1994), Raiders’ quarterbacks coach (1995) and Cardinals’ OC (1996). Then, after his six-year run as the Giants’ head coach, he spent three years with the Ravens, including two as their OC. Fassel’s last coaching position was with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League. The UFL ceased in 2012, but Fassel continued to live in Vegas throughout his golden years.
Although Fassel fell short of a ring during his six-year tenure as head coach, he’ll be fondly remembered for igniting the 2000 Giants in the face of critics.
“This is a poker game, and I’m shoving my chips to the middle of the table,” Fassel told reporters in November of that year. “I’m raising the ante, and anybody who wants in, get in. Anybody who wants out can get out.”