Former NY Giants head coach Jim Fassel dead at 71

Jim Fassel, who coached the New York Giants to a Super Bowl during the 2000 season, died Monday, his son said. He was 71.

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Fassel’s son, John Fassel, confirmed his father’s death to the Los Angeles Times on Monday night. John Fassel said his father died of a heart attack while under sedation. Jim Fassel, who suffered chest pains earlier, was taken to a Las Vegas hospital, where he died, the newspaper reported.

Jim Fassel, who was the Giants’ head coach from 1997 to 2003, took the team to Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa, Florida, where his team lost 34-7 to the Baltimore Ravens. Before taking over the Giants, Fassel was the team’s offensive coordinator in 1992 and held the same position with Denver (1993-94) and Arizona (1996).

“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. We were all saddened to hear of Jim’s passing. Jim was a good man and his record as our coach speaks for itself,” Giants co-owner John Mara said in a statement. “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. The players respected Jim and enjoyed playing for him and his coaching staff. And we appreciated his seven years of leading our team.”

Fassel was born Aug. 31, 1949, in Anaheim, California, according to Pro Football Reference. He is one of three coaches to lead the Giants to the Super Bowl; Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin are the others.

Fassel played quarterback at Fullerton College, the University of Southern California and Long Beach State. In 1972, he was drafted in the seventh round by the Chicago Bears and played briefly in the NFL and the World Football League.

He took over the Giants after the team had missed the playoffs in five of the previous six seasons and led New York to a 10-5-1 record, which earned him Coach of the Year honors.

The Giants missed the playoffs in 1998 and 1999. The team got off to a 7-2 start in 2000 but then lost its next two games. Four days before the Giants’ game against the Arizona Cardinals, Fassel put his reputation on the line with a guarantee.

“I’ll take full responsibility. I’m raising the stakes right now,’' Fassel said. “This is a poker game, I’m shoving my chips to the middle of the table, I’m raising the ante. Anybody wants in, get in. Anybody wants out, get out. This team is going to the playoffs. OK. This team is going to the playoffs.”

The Giants won their final five regular-season to go 12-4, then swept through the playoffs to reach the Super Bowl.

Fassel, who coached at the University of Utah from 1985 to 1989, also coached in four different pro leagues -- the NFL, the World Football League, United States Football League and UFL, ESPN reported.

After stepping down from the Giants after the 2003 season, Fassel served as Baltimore’s offensive coordinator in 2005 and 2006. His last football job was as head coach of the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League from 2009 to 2012, the Times reported.

Former Giants running back Tiki Barber paid tribute to his former coach on Twitter, writing, “He challenged me to excel at the small things, then allowed me run with the big ones.”