Fassel reportedly had a heart attack on Monday after experiencing chest pains. Loved ones rushed him to the hospital near his home in Las Vegas where he suffered the fatal heart attack while under sedation. The former NFL coach died at the age of 71.
Fassel coached the New York Giants from 1997 to 2003. Strahan played on the defensive line for Fassel every single year he coached the team. He helped lead the Giants to an NFC Championship in 2000. However, New York fell to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV.
Strahan posted some heartfelt thoughts about his former coach Jim Fassel along with a series of photos of the pair together. The coach obviously meant a lot to Strahan on the field and off of it. The Good Morning America host called the news of Fassel’s death “devastating” and “hard to comprehend.” In addition, he also sent condolences to the Fassel family.
“RIP to a man who played a big part in my life, Jim Fassel. Coach, you will be missed. You were not only a great coach but, more importantly, a great man and friend. To Coach Fassel’s family, my condolences and love go out to all of you,” Strahan wrote.
“This news is devastating and hard to comprehend. Always remember life is too short and to make sure you hug and call the people you care about and tell them you love them,” he added.
Jim Fassel’s Early Days in Football and His Path to an NFL Career
Jim Fassel grew up around Anaheim, California where he started playing football at an early age. The former quarterback went on to play for three different California colleges, including Fullerton College, USC and Long Beach State, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In 1972, the Chicago Bears selected Fassel in the seventh round of that year’s NFL Draft. Additionally, the QB played for the San Diego Chargers and the Houston Oilers as well. While he had a short-lived NFL career, he found more success in the league as a coach.
Starting in 1974, Fassel began his coaching career journey, which took him on a winding path through other football leagues and college programs. In 1991, he took over as the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants. Six years later and after three more stops in Denver, Oakland, and Arizona, Fassel returned to New York. However, this time he took over the whole team as their head coach.
As previously mentioned, his most successful season with the team was during the 2000 season. The Giants went 12-4 that season but lost in the Super Bowl. Furthermore, he received the NFL Coach of the Year award in his first season with New York 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. “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.”