John J. Idzik, father of Jets GM, dies at 85
John Joseph Idzik, a former NFL assistant coach and father of
New York Jets general manager John Idzik, has died. He was 85.
The Jets, citing information released by the family, announced
Saturday that Idzik died of natural causes Tuesday at his home in
Chadds Ford with family members by his side.
A former baseball and football star at Maryland, Idzik served as
the offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1973-76
and the Jets from 1977-79. He was also an assistant with Miami and
Baltimore, and later coached in the USFL and was head coach of the
Aberdeen (Scotland) Oilers in the British American Football League
in 1990 – when he coached with his son, who’s in his first season
as GM of the Jets.
Idzik was a standout halfback and catcher at Northeast Catholic
High School in Philadelphia, and turned down a contract offer from
baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals in 1947 to accept a scholarship to
play football at Maryland.
He played defensive back, halfback and served as a punt returner
under Terrapins coach Jim Tatum. Idzik was the second-leading
rusher in the 1948 Gator Bowl as a freshman, and had a key
interception return in Maryland’s victory over Missouri in the 1950
Gator Bowl. He still ranks among the school’s leaders in career
punt return average, and also was a three-year starter at third
base for the Terrapins’ baseball team.
Idzik served a three-year stint with the Marines after
graduating from Maryland, and began his coaching career as an
assistant at Tennessee in 1954. He spent a year as an offensive
assistant for the Ottawa Rough Riders of the CFL in 1955 before
returning to Maryland as an assistant from 1956-58.
He also coached at the University of Detroit, including three
years as head coach, and Tulane before beginning his NFL coaching
career as the offensive backfield coach for the Dolphins from
1966-69. He held a similar position with Baltimore from 1970-72,
and was part of the Colts staff that helped win the Super Bowl in
1971. After stints as an offensive coordinator with the Eagles and
Jets, Idzik returned to Baltimore as the Colts’ offensive backfield
coach from 1980-81.
Idzik, the youngest of nine children, is survived by his wife
Joyce, three children – Dr. Cynthia Lynn Idzik-Starr, John Arthur
Idzik and Joyce Leigh Harms – five grandchildren and sister Laura
A viewing will be held Dec. 14 at Concordia Lutheran Church in
Wilmington, Del., followed by funeral services. In lieu of flowers,
Idzik’s family has asked that donations be made in his memory to
Concordia Lutheran Church.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org