In this final installment of our Countdown to the ACM Awards at AT&T Stadium this coming Sunday, April 19th, 5 Points Blue tips our cap to ‘Coach Joe’, former Dallas Cowboys special teams coach Joe Avezzano.
It was Coach Joe who convinced four of the all-time best players in Cowboys history to come to a recording studio in 1995 and record the album ‘Everybody Wants to Be a Cowboy’. Troy Aikman, Jay Novacek, Randy White and Walt Garrison joined Joe and country music singer/songwriter/producer Doc Swicegood to form a group called The Super Boys.
5 Points Blue, as part of our ACMs countdown, has already posted the solos by Troy Aikman (‘Oklahoma Nights’) and Jay Novacek (‘Emmitt, My Rodeo Star’). So now, if you’re brave enough, it’s time to hear from Coach Joe who had two solo tracks on the album: ‘Ship My Body Back to Texas’ (cut 5) and ‘What I Couldn’t See’ (cut 10).
What can we say, the songs are 2:44 and 3:00, respectively…all we can promise is that it’s time you’ll never get back. But it’s still a fun listen for those long-time Cowboys fans who have fond memories of Joe.
He was hired by Jimmy Johnson to coach Cowboys special teams beginning in the 1990 season. He was with the Cowboys for 13 seasons. He was also the first head coach of the Dallas Desperadoes of the Arena League.
As a reporter who started covering the Cowboys in Coach Joe’s second season in Dallas, I have great memories of him. After his NFL coaching career ended following three seasons with the Oakland Raiders (2003-2005), Joe returned to Dallas and worked in sports media/broadcasting. I had the great pleasure to broadcast Cowboys preseason games with Joe. I was the sideline reporter, Brad Sham was play-by-play, and Joe was the color analyst. Listeners of Cowboys Radio broadcasts enjoyed his wit & wisdom.
I also remember summer training camps in Wichita Falls, Texas when Joe would star in his own country music concerts at Graham Central Station, the local nightclub and country music honkeytonk. Yes, seriously. Coach Joe would perform country music on stage. He loved it. Cowboys fans loved him. And all of us in the media (and everyone associated with the team) would good-naturedly rib him about his singing prowess (or lack thereof).
How could a nice Italian-American boy born in Yonkers, New York and raised in Miami, Florida become a country music lover? A real good ol’ boy? Somehow Joe managed to do it.
Coach Joe passed away unexpectedly at age 68 in April, 2012. He had a heart attack, ironically while exercising. He was in Milan, Italy. Why was he in Italy? Like I said, his family was of Italian descent. But he was actually in Milan because the prior year he accepted a job as head coach of the Seamen Milano, a team in the Italian Football League. That’s right. There’s a league for American football (not soccer) in Italy!
He loved football. He loved country music. He loved his wife and family. He loved the Cowboys and their fans.
So enjoy this musical selection from Coach Joe. If he were still with us, he’d be at AT&T Stadium this weekend for the ACM Awards enjoying the music. And he would have to resist the temptation to rush the stage, grab a microphone, and share his musical talents with a vast audience.
And if you happen by Hat Tricks, the bar and live music venue in Lewisville, Texas which Joe and his son opened several years back, raise a glass for Joe.