Jim Fassel

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Jim Fassel
Position: Head coach
Personal information
Date of birth: (1949-08-31) August 31, 1949 (age 67)
Place of birth: Anaheim, California
Career information
College: Long Beach State
Career history
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Win–Loss Record: 65–54–1
Postseason Record: 3–3
Overall: 68–57–1

James Edward "Jim" Fassel (born August 31, 1949) is the former head coach of the NFL's New York Giants. He has also served as offensive coordinator of several other NFL teams, and as the head coach, general manager, and president of the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League.


Playing career[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

As a high school football quarterback, Jim Fassel played for the legendary Anaheim High School coach Clare Van Hoorebeke for whom his father was the equipment manager. Fassel and tight end Gerry "Moon" Mullins (a future standout offensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers) led the Colonists to the 1967 CIF Southern Section large schools football championship game, however, they lost to El Rancho H.S. NOTE worthy: we had John Ochoa who was BIG but 5'9" =shorter than Fassel at 6'1". We called Ochoa the 'sawed-off' quarterback.

The next season, Fassel, Mullins, Ochoa were gone ... So it was Mark Steif, Larry Bashford as QBs in the '67/68 run; Poor offensive play Coach Van Hoorebeke promoted GEORGE FRASER a sophomore to 1st string QB. It was Fraser and his RUNNING and passing ability that led AHS to back to back to back victories! The only loss that season was to Santa Ana 28-0 and QB Bashford lost 4 or 5 fumbles. Then AHS played and won the State Championship title game against Sunset League rival Santa Ana High School in Anaheim Stadium. AHS has the famous Tom Fitzpatrick, 6'0" 200#, CIF Player of the Year, at full back/running back along with big Walt Smith.The Saints featured future Cal-Berkeley and Cincinnati Bengals star running back Isaac "Bobby" Curtis. It was the first time that two teams from the same league played for the CIF Southern Section championship.[1] NOTE: Jim Fassel and I went to Fullerton Junior College for 2 years. This was Coach Hal Sherbeck's team(s) which won ....100 games with no losses ! (100 was an estimate) The Hornets were almost impossible to beat. Then Fassel went to Long Beach State and I went to U.S.C.

College/professional career[edit]

Fassel played quarterback at Fullerton College, later at California State University, Long Beach after playing at USC in 1969. He was drafted in the 7th round by the Chicago Bears in the 1972 NFL Draft. He played briefly with The Hawaiians of the WFL in 1974, and became an assistant coach during the 1974 WFL season when the team brought New York Giants quarterback Randy Johnson in from the NFL. He left the WFL after the '74 season, and was working in air conditioning in Utah 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. Jim Fassel's total passing stats with the Hawaiians for 1974 and 1975 were 16 completions out of 39 attempts for 205 yards. He did not throw any touchdowns and was intercepted four times.

Coaching career[edit]

Before 1998[edit]

Fassel began his career with assistant coaching stints at the University of Utah and Stanford University, working with John Elway at Stanford. He also served as head coach of Utah. Prior to becoming New York Giants head coach, Fassel served as an assistant coach with the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, New York Giants, and Oakland Raiders. Jim Fassel's first pro coaching job was with The Hawaiians of the World Football League in 1974. He played QB and then moved to the sidelines. Fassel was an offensive assistant coach under Mike Giddings.

New York Giants[edit]

During Fassel's time as Giants head coach, his teams were known for numerous post-season runs in December and for winning big games, such as 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 Super Bowl appearance.

However, his legacy as head coach for the Giants is mixed. Fassel's 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 shocking 39-38 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the 2002 postseason, in which they blew 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 resided in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey.[2]

Baltimore Ravens[edit]

Critics of Fassel have pointed to his lack of success as offensive coordinator after two seasons with the Ravens, in 2004 and 2005. 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.[3]

Coaching prospects[edit]

It is believed that Fassel had been in contention for the Washington Redskins head coaching position in 2004, but when former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs agreed to come out of retirement, team owner Dan Snyder hired the Hall of Fame three-time Super Bowl winner.[4]

On January 23, 2008, it was reported in Newsday.com that Jim Fassel was again the leading candidate for the Redskins' head-coaching position, which opened up as a result of Joe Gibbs' retirement for the second time in that position. However, on February 9, 2008, Jim Zorn was hired as the new Redskins' head coach.

In November 2008, Fassel reportedly sent a letter to Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis expressing interest in becoming the next head coach of the Raiders.

In January 2009, Fassel was interviewed by Billy Devaney for the head coaching position for the St. Louis Rams, but the position instead went to Steve Spagnuolo.

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.[5]

Fassel returned to the Locos in 2010 and repeated 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.[6] 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).

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


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 Round.
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 Round.
NYG 2003 4 12 0 .250 4th in NFC East - - - -
NYG Total 58 53 1 .522 2 3 .400 -
LVL 2009 4 2 0 .667 2nd in UFL 1 0 1.000 2009 UFL Champions
LVL 2010 5 3 0 .625 1st in UFL 1 0 1.000 2010 UFL Champions
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 0 0 -- None, cessation of league play
LVL Total 16 6 0 .727 2 1 .667 2 William Hambrecht Championships
Total 73 59 1 .552 4 4 .500 -

Personal life[edit]

Before the 2003 NFL season, Fassel was reunited with a son, John Mathieson, whom he and his wife Kitty gave up for adoption in 1969. The couple was unmarried when he was born.

In 2004 and 2005, Jim and Kitty Fassel owned a Quiznos restaurant in Denville, New Jersey. Their son Brian was in charge of day-to-day operations. The store was sold in April 2005 but has since closed.

Jim and Kitty divorced in 2006 after years of counselling.[7]

Jim Fassel is also the father of John Fassel, currently the special teams coach for the Los Angeles Rams.


See also[edit]