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Former Cowboys special-teams coach Avezzano dies

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By PFW staff

Updated April 5, 2012 @ 10:10 p.m. ET

Former Cowboys special-teams coach Joe Avezzano died Wednesday. He suffered an apparent heart attack in Italy, where he was coaching the Seamen Milano of the Italian Football League.

Avezzano was the Cowboys’ special-teams coach from 1990-2002 and was named the NFL’s special-teams coach of the year in 1991, 1993 and 1998. Avezzano was a member of three Super Bowl-winning teams.

"There are not many days that go by where we are not sharing a legendary Joe Avezzano story or using a trademark Joe Avezzano expression," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. "He was a wonderful friend. We loved him very much, and he will be sorely missed."

Avezzano began his coaching career in the college ranks and was the head coach at Oregon State from 1980-1984. In 2002 he became the inaugural coach of the Arena Football League's Dallas Desperados, a team that was owned by the family of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, doing double duty while still employed by the Cowboys. Avezzano’s final stop in the NFL came with the Raiders, where he was a special-teams coach from 2004-05.

"Joe Avezzano was a very special part of our Dallas Cowboys family and our organization's history," Jones said in a statement released by the team. "No one enjoyed life more than Joe, and no one that I know had a greater appreciation for the people that he loved and the lives that he touched. There was no one else like him."

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