Barry Switzer: Joe Avezzano loved pickin' and singin'

Barry Switzer knew Joe Avezzano for four decades, dating to the Avezzano’s days as a young coach on Johnny Majors’ staff at Iowa State. Avezzano worked for Switzer for four seasons with the Cowboys, including the franchise’s last Super Bowl title season.

But when Switzer thinks of his old friend, who died suddenly Thursday, football usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Switzer thinks of Avezzano strumming a guitar and belting out country songs.

“Joe would rather have been a country western music star or on-stage performer than a football coach if he had a choice,” Switzer said. “Joe did a great job coaching, was highly ambitious and a hard worker, but Joe always thought he could sing. I got a kick out of that.”

Switzer laughed as he recalled a party he hosted after a Cowboys game once that included Charley Pride and a couple of other country stars as guests. It didn’t take long before the music started, with Avezzano right in the middle of the group.

“They were all over there pickin’ and singin’,” Switzer said. “That’s what Joe loved to do – pick and sing. That was his passion.”