Former NY Giants Coach Jim Fassel Dead at 71, Michael Strahan Reacts: 'Big Part of My Life'
“Big part of my life. Just a great man, great coach, and he will be missed,” former New York Giants player Michael Strahan said of Jim Fassel
Jim Fassel, who coached the New York Giants from 1997 to 2003, died of a heart attack at age 71 on Monday.
"Big part of my life. Just a great man, great coach. And he will be missed. I was definitely shocked this morning to find out this news," former Giants player Michael Strahan said on Good Morning America on Tuesday morning.
"I just want to send my love and condolences to his family," the 49-year-old, who played for Fassel for multiple seasons, continued. "Great man. Enjoyed every minute with him as my coach and after my career when we continued to stay in touch and talk."
According to the Los Angeles Times, Fassel experienced chest pains on Monday and was taken to a hospital near his home in Las Vegas. While under sedation, he suffered a fatal heart attack.
Fassel has roots in Southern California, having played quarterback at Fullerton College, USC and Long Beach State, the newspaper reported. He was later selected by the Chicago Bears in the seventh round of the 1972 NFL Draft.
After joining the Bears, Fassel played for the San Diego Chargers and the Houston Oilers, before playing for other football leagues.
As a coach, Fassel took the Giants to the Super Bowl in 2001, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens, 34-7. They earned a 12-4 record during the regular season that year, according to ESPN. He was named NFL Coach of the Year in 1997.
"On behalf of the Mara and Tisch families and our entire organization, I would like to express our condolences to the Fassel family and Jim's friends," Giants co-owner John Mara said in a statement posted to social media. "We were all saddened to hear of Jim's passing. Jim was a good man and his record as our coach speaks for itself."
"Jim distinguished himself by the way he managed our team and devoted his efforts to the firefighters and other families following the tragedy of 9/11," Mara continued. "The players respected Jim and enjoyed playing for him and his coaching staff. And we appreciated his seven years of leading our team."
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During his career, Fassel also held offensive coordinator roles with the Giants, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals and Ravens, ESPN said.
John Fassel, Jim's son who is also an NFL coordinator currently with the Dallas Cowboys, will take a leave of absence from the team as they prepare for the upcoming season.
"John's as big of a family man as we have here and our heart goes out to him and his family right now," Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said, according to ESPN. "John's love for his family and especially his father, Jim, he's shared many stories just in our short time together."