For Idzik's son, now the general manager of the New York Jets, see John Idzik, Jr.
John Idzik
File:John Idzik.jpg
Idzik as Maryland assistant in 1957
Biographical details
Born (1928-06-25) June 25, 1928 (age 92)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Tennessee (asst. freshman)
Ottawa Rough Riders (backs)
Maryland (line)
Detroit (backs)
Tulane (OC)
Miami Dolphins (backs)
Baltimore Colts (off. backs)
Philadelphia Eagles (OC)
New York Jets (OC)
Baltimore Colts (off. backs)
Head coaching record
College Football Data Warehouse

John J. Idzik (born June 25, 1928) is an American former football coach. He was the head coach of the University of Detroit football team until the school discontinued its program in 1964. He held assistant coaching positions at the University of Tennessee, University of Maryland, Tulane University, in the National Football League (NFL) with the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, and in the Canadian Football League (CFL) with the Ottawa Rough Riders. Idzik played college football at the University of Maryland.

Early life and college[edit | edit source]

Idzik, a native of Bridesburg in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, attended Northeast Catholic High School, where the Philadelphia Daily News described him as "one of this city's top high school football players".[1] In After the 1945 season he was selected as a 1st team All-Scholastic back by the Philadelphia Bulletin which honored the best high school players in the 5 county area in and around Philadelphia. He was also voted to the Coaches All-Catholic League team in 1944 (2nd team) and 1945 (1st team). Idzik was also the catcher for North Catholic's City Championship baseball team of 1945. After graduating high school in 1946 he enrolled at the University of Maryland in 1947. Idzik played on the football team and was a 4 year letterman as a back from 1947 to 1950.[2] Idzik was also invited to play for the South squad in the third annual Mahi Shrine North-South College All-Star Football Classic, a charity game held on Christmas night at Orange Bowl Stadium in Miami.[3] The 1951 yearbook, The Terrapin, described Idzik as a "backfield bulwark who was demon on defense—Could have starred on offense but was defensive necessity. Saved more touchdowns than most backs scored"[4] He also played varsity baseball for the University of Maryland. He was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.[5] Idzik graduated from Maryland in 1951.

Coaching career[edit | edit source]

In 1954, the University of Tennessee hired Idzik as an assistant football coach for its freshman team.[6][7] Having played college football under Jim Tatum, Idzik was the split-T expert on the Tennessee staff.[8] He resigned in February 1955 to take a job with the Ottawa Rough Riders in the Canadian Football League.[8]

At Ottawa, he served as the backfield and top assistant coach under head coach Chan Caldwell. The two personalities clashed however, which resulted in Idzik's dismissal midseason in October.[7] The disagreements, over play-calling and which players to dress, began after the first preseason game in early August and resulted in three meetings between the parties and the club management, the last of which was called at the request of the team's players.[7] Idzik accepted payment of a year's salary of $7,000 upon his termination.[9]

In January 1956, Idzik was hired as the line coach at his alma mater, to work under Tommy Mont, who had been promoted to head coach after Jim Tatum's departure.[10] He served in that capacity for three seasons.[2]

Detroit[edit | edit source]

After Maryland, Idzik moved on to take an assistant coaching position at the University of Detroit. He worked as backfield coach under Jim Miller for three seasons, until promoted to head coach in 1962.[11] He replaced Miller who had resigned to take over at Boston College.[12] As head coach, Detroit failed to achieve a winning season and Idzik amassed a record of 6–21–1.[13]

At the time of his hiring, Detroit indicated that it might discontinue its football program if its gate receipts did not improve.[14] After the 1964 season, the university terminated its sponsorship of the sport. Idzik sued the school for $15,000 in a breach of contract suit. Half of the requested amount consisted was for "services rendered" and the other half for damages.[15] In July 1965, Idzik and the University of Detroit came to an agreement under which he was awarded $1,400.[16]

He was then hired as the chief offensive coach at Tulane University.[17] Idzik was considered a candidate for the Tulane head coach post after Tommy O'Boyle resigned, but the job ultimately went to Jim Pittman.[17]

NFL assistant coach[edit | edit source]

Idzik then moved on to the National Football League, where he joined the staff of the Miami Dolphins as its backfield coach.[18] He convinced the staff to select halfback Jim Kiick in the 1969 NFL Draft. In contrast to some of the other staff members earlier assessments, Idzik said, "He's not slow. He has got good speed and power and balance and a good head on his shoulders."[19] In 1967, Idzik was a frontrunner for the vacant head coaching job at his alma mater, which went instead to fellow alumnus Bob Ward.[20]

In 1970, he was hired by the Baltimore Colts as its offensive backfield coach.[21] He was on the staff that guided Baltimore to win Super Bowl V after the 1970 season. On December 20, 1972, Colts general manager Joe Thomas, who wanted "a new approach, a new look," dismissed the entire coaching staff including Idzik and interim head coach John Sandusky.[22]

Idzik and Sandusky were subsequently hired as assistants by the Philadelphia Eagles in January 1973.[23] After the Eagles posted a 4–10 record in 1976, Idzik resigned as offensive coordinator, as did defensive coordinator John Mazur.[24]

The New York Jets hired both Idzik and Mazur in February 1977.[25] With the Jets, he was responsible for the development of quarterbacks Richard Todd and Matt Robinson.[26] As part of the New York staff, Idzik coached as the offensive coordinator in the 1978 Senior Bowl.[27] In 1978, Idzik expressed an interest in the vacant head coaching position with the New York Giants,[28] but he did not receive the job.

Idzik resigned from the Jets after the 1979 season. The Associated Press reported that he did not get along with head coach Walt Michaels, and that he favored embattled quarterback Richard Todd over back-up Matt Robinson.[29] He returned to the Baltimore Colts for the 1980 season.[30] In 1982, Frank Kush took over as head coach and dismissed the entire staff.[31]

After his coaching career, he and his wife lived in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.[1] In 1990, he intended to return from retirement to become head coach of the Rome franchise of the new International League of American Football,[32] but the league folded before its first season.[1]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

His son, John Idzik, Jr., has held front office positions in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks,[33] and currently is the general manager of the New York Jets.[34]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 U.S.-BACKED INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOLDS, Associated Press, May 3, 1990.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2007 Terrapin Football Record Book (PDF), p. 4, University of Maryland, 2007.
  3. NORTH-SOUTH TEST TO ATTRACT 40,000; Teams Rated Evenly Matched for Mahi Shrine Charity Game in Miami Tonight; Lucia in the Backfield Wealth of Line Stars, The New York Times, December 25, 1950.
  4. The Terrapin, p. 277, University of Maryland year book, 1951.
  5. The Terrapin, p. 146, University of Maryland year book, 1951.
  6. Idzik To Coach For Tennessee, The Baltimore Sun, January 31, 1954.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 John Idzik Released By Rough Riders In "Best Interests" of Football Club, Ottawa Citizen, October 4, 1955.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Tennessee Grid Aid Joins Ottawa Club, The Milwaukee Sentinel, February 22, 1955.
  9. Scarbath, Bailey To Alternate; Caldwell Plans Offense Change, The Montreal Gazette, October 7, 1955.
  10. SIGN JOHN IDZIK AS MARYLAND FOOTBALL AID, Chicago Daily Tribune, January 29, 1956.
  11. DETROIT NAMES IDZIK; Ex-Aide Replaces Miller as Head Football Coach, The New York Times, January 25, 1962.
  12. Idzik New Head Coach at Detroit, The Milwaukee Sentinel, January 25, 1962.
  13. John Idzik Records By Year, College Football Data Warehouse, retrieved August 8, 2010.
  14. Detroit U Picks Idzik Grid Head, Prescott Evening Courier, January 25, 1962.
  15. School Sued By Football Coach, Beaver Country Times, May 27, 1965.
  16. Idzik Awarded $1,400 In Coaching Suit, The Baltimore Sun, July 23, 1965.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Tulane Coach Resigns After 62–0 Trouncing, Reading Eagle, November 25, 1965.
  18. Chesser Calms Down, Now Dolphin Starter, The Miami News, August 9, 1966.
  19. Quiet Hero Kiicks Houston, The Miami News, October 7, 1968.
  20. BOB WARD TALKS WITH MD. TODAY; Camp, Idzik Also On List Of Candidates For Grid Post, The Baltimore Sun, December 20, 1966.
  21. Colts Assimilate More Plays For Attack, Defense, The Baltimore Sun, August 18, 1970.
  22. Colts Coaches Out of Work, The Victoria Advocate, December 20, 1972.
  23. Sandusky appointed, Tri City Herald, January 30, 1973.
  24. Eagle aides Mazur and Idzik resign, The Free Lance-Star, December 23, 1976.
  25. Jets hire 2 new coaches, Anchorage Daily News, February 8, 1977.
  26. Allen's chances rated slim for Giants' coaching post, The Free Lance-Star, December 20, 1978.
  27. Jets' staff in Senior Bowl, St. Petersburg Times, December 21, 1978.
  28. Giants: No Rush On Coach; Hard Man to Persuade Giants to Wait at Least 3 Weeks Before Picking Their New Coach How Much Power Demanded? Tough on Field, Kind Off It Other Coaches Interested In Job, The New York Times, December 20, 1978.
  29. Two Coaches Leave Jets, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, December 23, 1979.
  30. Jets, The Palm Beach Post, October 24, 1980.
  31. Stadler Up By 7 Shots, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, January 10, 1982.
  32. IDZIK'S 'RETIREMENT'ISN'T QUITE WHAT HE ENVISIONED, Philadelphia Daily News, January 23, 1990.
  33. John Idzik, Seattle Seahawks, retrieved August 8, 2010.
  34. Rich Cimini (January 19, 2013). "Jets name John Idzik new GM".
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