Friday, December 11, 2009

Rest in Peace Foge

A little Vikings tidbit: Foge Fazio, defensive coordinator for the Vikings (1996-1998) has died of leukemia. The most significant thing I remember about coach Fazio was his unusual name, which is why the story caught my eye. It turns out he had a long, successful career in the thankless world of assistant coaching:

Fazio was Minnesota's defensive coordinator from 1996 to 1998, and was also the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2001 and 2002. Prior to that, he held numerous other coaching jobs, including the head coaching position at the University of Pittsburgh from 1982 to 1984. He also served as the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame under Lou Holtz, and was also an assistant coach for the Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, and New York Jets.

I read a story once about being an assistant coach in the NFL; it was almost exclusively downside. Unbelievably long hours, no job security, and first to take the blame for everything. To me, the more significant career is the one that never resulted in a head coaching position in the NFL. More significant because you would have to be really dedicated to continue in it knowing your prospects for a head coach job are non-existent.

Foge, passed on, is likely getting the much-deserved rest he hadn't had since the '70s. And hats off to him.

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