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Former Chiefs coach Gansz, who coached 24 years in NFL, dies

DALLAS -- Former Kansas City Chiefs coach Frank Gansz, who spent much of his NFL and collegiate career working with special teams, died Monday at a Dallas hospital.

SMU spokesman Brad Sutton said Gansz developed complications after undergoing knee replacement surgery last week and died Monday afternoon. Gansz had been special teams coach for the Mustangs last year.

"In his over 30 years in football, Frank was a tremendous coach, a beloved teacher and an outstanding person," Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in a statement. "He will be missed."

SMU coach June Jones said he was saddened by Gansz's death.

"Frank has been a second father to me for the past 30 years and he has touched the lives of many, both at SMU and throughout the National Football League," Jones said in a statement. "I was lucky to have known Frank, and not only was he a wonderful person, but he was a father to everyone he has ever coached. He will live on with us. My team will miss him as a coach and mentor, but most of all, I will miss him as my best friend."

Gansz, who was 70, coached for 38 years, including 24 in the NFL. He was head coach of the Chiefs from 1987-88. He was also an assistant for the Chiefs twice before taking over the head coaching job. Other stops included special teams coordinator for Jacksonville, Atlanta, St. Louis and Detroit, and well as stints at Philadelphia, Cincinnati and San Francisco. He was on the Rams' staff for their 2000 Super Bowl win.

Former NFL coach Dick Vermiel said in a story for Monday's online edition of The Dallas Morning News that the Rams wouldn't have won the Super Bowl without Gansz.

"He was the finest football coach I ever worked with," Vermeil said. "The quality of the human being matched his coaching skills. ... His vibrancy will live forever in the people that he touched."

The Altoona, Pa., native played college football for Navy. After serving as a pilot in the Air Force, he was on the coaching staffs at the Air Force Academy, UCLA, Oklahoma State, Army, Navy and Colgate.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara; daughter, Jennifer; and son, Frank Jr., an assistant coach at UCLA.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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