On Sunday, July 22, the Minnesota Vikings announced the sad news that Tony Sparano has passed away. Sparano, an NFL coaching legend, was only 56 years old at the time of his death.
According to ESPN, the NFL coach had been experiencing chest pains earlier in the week. On Sunday morning as they were getting ready to leave for church, Sparano’s wife found him unconscious and, sadly, could not revive him. The death was unexpected.
Sparano spent almost two decades coaching for the NFL in different franchises. He was the former head coach for the Miami Dolphins and was most recently the offensive line coach for the Minnesota Vikings, where he was about to enter into his third season with the team. He had also previously worked with the Cleveland Browns, the Oakland Raiders, the San Fransisco 49ers, the Washington Redskins, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Dallas Cowboys.
Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wolf said, “Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family, and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren…We are only thinking of Tony’s family during this incredibly difficult time. We ask that the entire NFL and Vikings family keep the Sparanos in their thoughts.”
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said that he was a “great teacher, a grinder of a worker and had a toughness and fighting spirit that showed our linemen…This is just sinking in for us but Tony will be sorely missed by all.”
Prior to the NFL, Sparano played at the University of New Haven. In 1994, he was hired as the head coach there and held that position for five seasons.
At this point, little has been revealed about Sparano’s cause of death. Please be praying for his family, team, and loved ones during this horrible time. Share your prayers here! In other breaking news, a mass shooting just took place leaving 2 dead and 13 severely injured.