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.

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