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Former Giants’ head coach Jim Fassel passes away at 71

Some sad news to start the Giants’ mandatory mini-camp

NFC Championship Game - Minnesota Vikings v New York Giants Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Former New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel has passed away at age 71.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Fassel suffered a fatal heart attack on Monday, June 7th, at a local hospital in Las Vegas.

Fassel first joined the Giants’ organization under head coach Ray Handley as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 1991 and 1992. Fassel left the Giants to coach for the Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders (then in Oakland), and Arizona Cardinals before returning to New York to replace Dan Reeves as head coach in 1997. Fassel’s 7-year tenure was marked by several high points, including being named the Coach Of The Year in 1997, his team ending the, then 13-0, Broncos’ undefeated season in 1998. Fassel also lead the Giants to their third Super Bowl appearance in 2000 after guaranteeing that the team would make the play-offs despite their 7-4 record (and two consecutive losses) at the time.

Fassel was fired during the 2003 season, which the Giants’ ultimately ended with a 4-12 record, leading to the team hiring Tom Coughlin in 2004.

Fassel began his coaching career as an assistant coach for The Hawaiians in the short-lived WFL. He also played for the Hawaiians during the team’s short existence and holds the distinction of throwing the final pass in the leagues’s history in 1975. From there, Fassel coached for Weber State, Utah, and Stanford in the college ranks before getting his first NFL job with the Giants.

This is certainly some somber news to kick off the Giants mandatory mini-camp, and our thoughts are with Fassel’s friends and family.

Giants coach Joe Judge opened his remarks to media on Tuesday by paying tribute to Fassel:

“First, want to give condolences to the family of Coach Fassel. Very sadly, he passed away (yesterday). Look it’s a honor being inside this building where his impact was directly felt, carries over into the history of our organization; a coach around the league that worked together and had a lot of good relationships, have a lot of respect for his son (John), just all the respect in the world for what they are doing, and obviously our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the impact he made here for the Giants, something we talk about as a team and we’ll make sure we reflect on today.”