ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Bob Karmelowicz, a football coach with three-plus decades of experience, has died. He was 60.
The Detroit Lions, who employed Karmelowicz as defensive line coach last year, announced Sunday he passed away the previous day because of an illness.
"Bob touched many lives throughout his years of coaching and positively impacted the careers of countless players at both the collegiate and professional level," Lions president Tom Lewand said in a statement sent by the team. "While he was only with the Lions for one season, his contributions to our team last year were greatly appreciated and he will be missed by all of us."
He was with the Miami Hurricanes from 1989-91, helping Warren Sapp go from tight end to defensive tackle. Sapp posted a message on his Twitter account that Karmelowicz asked and made him switch positions.
"Sad Day," Sapp wrote on the website. "We Lost a Great PASS Rushing Technique Coach!! He Really Knew His Stuff!! RIP COACH!"
Karmelowicz is from Plainville, Conn., and played at the University of Bridgeport. He also coached at Washington State, Illinois, UNLV, Texas-El Paso, Massachusetts and Arizona State.
"I've had the privilege of coaching with and against 'Karm' for a long time and he was one tough guy," Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said in the team statement. "Though his coaching success on the field speaks for itself, I will always remember him for how much he loved kids, his compassion for helping kids and how much he cared for his grandkids. That will always be his lasting impression on me."
Karmelowicz is survived by his wife, Olga, daughters, Liz and Marissa, and son, Dave.