Former New York Giants head coach and Toronto Argonauts quarterback Jim Fassel has passed away at the age of 71.
According to reports, Fassel, who lived outside of Las Vegas, was taken to a hospital with chest pains and died of a heart attack while under sedation.
Fassel spent the 1973 CFL season as a backup quarterback with the Argos while Joe Theismann was the starter. Toronto was 7-5-2 that year and lost in the East Semi-Final to Montreal at Exhibition Stadium. That was Fassel’s only stint north of the border.
He was selected in the seventh round, 167th overall during the 1972 NFL Draft. During his rookie season in the NFL, Fassel bounced from the Chicago Bears to the San Diego Chargers and Houston Oilers. After his time in double blue, Fassel started into coaching in the United States.
Fassel coached at the NCAA and professional levels for 30 years. He was the head coach at the University of Utah from 1985-1989 and coached in four different professional leagues. He coached Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway as an offensive coordinator at Stanford University and with the Denver Broncos while also having NFL stints with the Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals.
Fassel was head coach of the Giants from 1997-2003. His 58 career regular season victories are the fourth-highest total among the 19 coaches in the 96-year history of the franchise. He was named NFL Coach of the Year after his first season in the Big Apple.
Under Fassel’s guidance, New York made it to Super Bowl XXXV, but lost 34-7 to the Baltimore Ravens led by linebacker Ray Lewis. The Giants made the playoffs three times in his seven seasons as bench boss, producing a 2-3 record in the post-season. Overall in the regular season, Fassel was 58-53-1 as a head coach.
Fassel interviewed for the Argos head coaching position in 2009, but he was taken out of the mix largely due to financial reasons. He would have wanted between $500,000 and $1 million in salary to lead the boatmen.