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John J. Idzik, father of New York Jets general manager, dies at 85

CHADDS FORD, Pa. -- 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 Novasack.

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.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

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