Family, friends say goodbye to Coach Joe

FLOWER MOUND, Texas – The Cowboys said their goodbyes to their former special teams coach, Joe Avezzano, who passed away from a heart attack April 5 in Milan, Italy.

Among those in attendance at Tuesday's service were owner and general manager Jerry Jones, Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith and Jason Garrett, Norv Turner, Jackie Sherrill and R.C. Slocum. Players from all of the Cowboys’ eras showed up, including Preston Pearson, Bill Bates, Russell Maryland, Darren Woodson, Dexter Coakley and Randal Williams.

Current Cowboys assistants Joe DeCamillis, Skip Peete and Chris Boniol, who also played for Avezzano, were in attendance. Former Cowboys assistants Robert Ford and Tony Wise were also on hand, as were any behind-the-scenes co-workers.

A crowd of roughly 200 attended the hour-long ceremony at Trietsch United Methodist Church and were treated to moving eulogies from Brad Sham, the radio voice of the Cowboys, and Avezzano’s son, Tony.

Avezzano, 68, died while working out on a treadmill. He had been in Italy coaching the Milan Seamen of the Italian Football League.

He helped the Cowboys to three Super Bowl wins in the 1990s, staying with the team from 1990-2002. He became the first coach of the Dallas Desperados of the Arena Football League before returning to the NFL with Turner in Oakland.