Jim Fassel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jim Fassel
refer to caption
Fassel at Nellis Air Force Base in 2011
Personal information
Born:(1949-08-31)August 31, 1949
Anaheim, California, U.S.
Died:June 7, 2021(2021-06-07) (aged 71)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Career information
High school:Anaheim (Anaheim, California)
College:Long Beach State
NFL Draft:1972 / Round: 7 / Pick: 167
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
Head coaching record
Regular season:College: 25–33 (.431)
NFL: 58–53–1 (.522)
UFL: 16–6 (.727)
Postseason:NFL: 2–3 (.400)
UFL: 2–1 (.667)
Career:NFL: 60–56–1 (.517)
UFL: 18–7 (.720)

James Edward Fassel (August 31, 1949 – June 7, 2021)[1] was an American college and professional football player and coach. He was the head coach of the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL) from 1997 to 2003. He was offensive coordinator of other NFL teams, and as head coach, general manager, and president of the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League.

Playing career[edit]

Fassel graduated from Anaheim High School and played quarterback at Fullerton College, USC, and Long Beach State.[2] He was drafted as quarterback in the 7th round by the Chicago Bears[3] in the 1972 NFL Draft and had a short playing career with the Bears, San Diego Chargers, and Houston Oilers in 1972.

Fassel played briefly with The Hawaiians of the WFL in 1974, and became an assistant coach during the 1974 WFL season. He left the WFL after the '74 season, but briefly returned when the Hawaiians needed a quarterback late in the 1975 season. He played in the final game of the WFL for the Hawaiians, throwing the last pass in the league's history as the WFL folded three days later on October 22, 1975.

Coaching career[edit]

Fassel's first professional coaching job was with The Hawaiians of the World Football League (WFL) in 1974, where he played quarterback before moving to the sidelines as an offensive assistant coach.[4][5] He then began his college coaching career with stints at the University of Utah, Weber State and Stanford University, where he worked with John Elway. After five months as the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for the New Orleans Breakers of the United States Football League (USFL),[6][7] He was named head football coach at the University of Utah on November 30, 1984.[8]

Before becoming New York Giants head coach, Fassel served as an assistant coach with the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, New York Giants, and Oakland Raiders.

Head coach of New York Giants[edit]

Fassel originally coached with the Giants as an assistant in 1991 and 1992. Three weeks after the Giants won Super Bowl XXV, he was hired by Bill Parcells as their quarterback coach.[9] In 1992, he was promoted to offensive coordinator.[10]

During Fassel's tenure as head coach of the Giants, his teams were known for numerous strong runs in December and for winning big games, such as a victory against the previously undefeated Denver Broncos in 1998. In 1997, he was named NFL coach of the year. He resurrected the career of quarterback Kerry Collins and received acclaim for his "playoff guarantee" in the 2000 season, during which he led the Giants to an improbable NFC Championship, ultimately losing to the Ray Lewis-led Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV.

Fassel's legacy as head coach for the Giants is mixed. His Giants were known for their disappointments against inferior teams in the regular season, as well as in the playoffs. The most notable loss was a 39–38 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the 2002 postseason, in which they lost a 38–14 third quarter lead. During the 2003 season, injuries decimated the Giants and he was fired amidst some controversy.

While coaching for the Giants, Fassel lived in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey.[11]

"The Playoff Guarantee"[edit]

In 2000, the NY Giants started off well but fell to 7–4. Under heavy criticism from the New York media and Giants' upper management, Fassel ad hoc'ed a famous speech that predicted a playoff berth that proved to be the impetus for a run at Super Bowl XXXV:

"This is a poker game, and I'm shoving my chips to the middle of the table, I'm raising the ante, and anybody who wants to get in, get in. Anybody who wants out can get out. This team is going to the playoffs, OK? This team is going to the playoffs."[12]

Involvement in 9-11 recovery[edit]

Fassel and the Giants, on the way home from a regular season loss on the road, learned of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon when they landed. With the NFL games suspended, Fassel was called by Mayor Rudy Giuliani to help morale at the Trade Center site. Fassel agreed and insisted that the team use its goodwill to help the recovery effort and provide assistance to the FDNY, NYPD and the City of New York. Under pressure from recovery crews to win the next game in Kansas City, the Giants went on to win an emotional game with respectful fans at Arrowhead Stadium.[13][14]

Baltimore Ravens[edit]

Fassel joined the Ravens as an offensive consultant in 2004 to help with development of Kyle Boller. He became the Ravens offensive coordinator in 2005. Critics of Fassel have pointed to his lack of success as offensive coordinator after two seasons with the Ravens, in 2005 and part of 2006. During that time, the Ravens ranked near the bottom of the league in offense.

On October 17, 2006, Fassel was fired as offensive coordinator for the Ravens.[15]

Las Vegas Locomotives[edit]

In January 2009, Fassel was named coach of the Las Vegas entrant into the United Football League. The Locos finished the regular season 4–2 and defeated the 6–0 Florida Tuskers in the first UFL Championship Game.[16]

Fassel returned to the Locos in 2010 and helped lead the team to repeat as champions, again defeating the Tuskers in the 2010 UFL Championship Game. The Locos tried to three-peat in 2011, but this time fell to the Tuskers (who had since been relocated and renamed the Virginia Destroyers) in the 2011 UFL Championship Game.[17] Fassel was the only current UFL head coach who was active in the league since its inauguration and was the Locos' head coach when the league suspended play in 2012.

Broadcasting career[edit]

Fassel entered broadcasting following his firing as offensive coordinator for the Ravens, joining Westwood One radio as a color commentator for its Sunday NFL action. He stayed with the network for two seasons, calling Sunday afternoon games with Harry Kalas in 2007 and Sunday Night Football with Dave Sims. Fassel was also part of Westwood One's playoff coverage those two years, calling various games, and worked the 2007 and 2008 NFC Championship Games with Bill Rosinski (2007) and Marv Albert (2008).

Personal life and death[edit]

Fassel and his wife, Kitty, divorced in 2006 after years of counseling,[18] but later reconciled and remarried.[19] They are the parents of John Fassel, currently the special teams coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. They had four other children. One was placed for adoption before they were married; they were reunited with him in 2003.[20]

Fassel was good friends with fellow coach Mike Holmgren, dating to their days as USC quarterbacks.[21]

Fassel died at age 71 of a heart attack on June 7, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nevada.[22]

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Utah Utes (Western Athletic Conference) (1985–1989)
1985 Utah 8–4 5–3 3rd
1986 Utah 2–9 1–7 9th
1987 Utah 5–7 2–6 7th
1988 Utah 6–5 4–4 5th
1989 Utah 4–8 2–6 7th
Utah: 25–33 14–26
Total: 25–33


National Football League
Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
NYG 1997 10 5 1 .656 1st in NFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to Minnesota Vikings in Wild Card Game
NYG 1998 8 8 0 .500 3rd in NFC East
NYG 1999 7 9 0 .438 3rd in NFC East
NYG 2000 12 4 0 .750 1st in NFC East 2 1 .667 Lost to Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV
NYG 2001 7 9 0 .438 3rd in NFC East
NYG 2002 10 6 0 .625 2nd in NFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to San Francisco 49ers in Wild Card Game
NYG 2003 4 12 0 .250 4th in NFC East
NYG Total 58 53 1 .522 2 3 .400
United Football League
LVL 2009 4 2 0 .667 2nd in UFL 1 0 1.000 Defeated Florida Tuskers in Championship Game
LVL 2010 5 3 0 .625 1st in UFL 1 0 1.000 Defeated Florida Tuskers in Championship Game
LVL 2011 3 1 0 .750 2nd in UFL 0 1 .000 Lost to Virginia Destroyers in Championship Game
LVL 2012 4 0 0 1.000 1st in UFL
LVL Total 16 6 0 .727 2 1 .667 2 William Hambrecht Championships
Overall Total 74 59 1 .552 4 4 .500

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jim Fassel Records, Statistics, Category". pro-football-reference.com. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  2. ^ Simers, T.J. (October 25, 2010). "Odds are Jim Fassel is never coaching in the NFL again". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  3. ^ Fisher, Mike (June 8, 2021). "Former Giants Coach Jim Fassel is Dead at 71". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  4. ^ "1974 WFL Team Pages: The Hawaiians". CharlotteHornetsWFL.com. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  5. ^ "WFL Players: Jim Fassel". NASLJerseys.com. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  6. ^ "Jim Fassel named offensive coordinator for New Orleans Breakers". upi.com. UPI. July 10, 1984. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  7. ^ Garber, Greg (March 5, 2003). "The cradle of NFL coaching?". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  8. ^ Harvey, Tom (November 30, 1984). "Jim Fassel named University of Utah's head football coach". upi.com. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  9. ^ Litsky, Frank (February 21, 1991). "Parcells Promotes 3 Aides and Hires 2 Others". The New York Times. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  10. ^ "Giants Promote Jim Fassel to Offensive Coordinator". Deseret News. January 16, 1992. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  11. ^ Anderson, Dave (March 2, 2001). "Sports of The Times: Fassel's Finished Basement". The New York Times. Retrieved November 2, 2007. Maybe that explains how the Fassels celebrated when he returned to their Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., home on Tuesday with a four-year, $10.75 million contract — a guarantee that they will be living at the same address for at least eight years, their longest consecutive residence.
  12. ^ Farmer, Sam (June 8, 2021). "This speech made Jim Fassel a legend in New York and ended with a Giants Super Bowl". www.yahoo.com/entertainment/.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "Giants Now: Football world reflects on Jim Fassel". www.nygiants.com. June 8, 2021. Retrieved June 8, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ Easton Jr, Ed (July 3, 2020). "Morten Andersen recounts patriotism, sportsmanship from Chiefs fans". chiefswire.usatoday.com/.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "Ravens fire offensive coordinator Jim Fassel". USA Today. Associated Press. October 17, 2006. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  16. ^ "Bloomberg Politics - Bloomberg". Bloomberg News.
  17. ^ White, Paul (October 22, 2011). "Destroyers capture UFL title as hometown star Rouse shines after cousin's slaying". Daily Press. Newport News, Virginia. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  18. ^ Borden, Sam (December 15, 2011). "Years Later, Still Waiting for a Second Chance". The New York Times. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  19. ^ "Exploring the legacy of former coach Jim Fassel". Archived from the original on 2015-02-21.
  20. ^ Pennington, Bill (May 16, 2003). "PRO FOOTBALL: 34 Years Later, One Coach's Sweetest Victory". The New York Times. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  21. ^ Pennington, Bill (December 22, 2001). "PRO FOOTBALL – GIANTS NOTEBOOK: Fassel and Holmgren Remember the Good Ol' Days". The New York Times. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  22. ^ "Jim Fassel, longtime NFL coach, dies at 71". Los Angeles Times. (California). UPI. June 7, 2021. p. 25.