EAGAN, Minn. (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach and former Dallas Cowboys assistant coach Tony Sparano died Sunday at the age of 56.
The Vikings announced Sparano’s death in a statement that did not provide a cause. Sparano had been the team’s offensive line coach since 2016.
“Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family, and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren,” Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf said in the statement. “Tony’s presence within the Vikings organization will be deeply missed.”
Sparano began his NFL coaching career in 1999 and had stints as a head coach with the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders.
Sparano was hired in 2003 by Cowboys’ head coach Bill Parcells and spent five seasons with the team as he rose from tight ends coach to assistant head coach.
He was the Dolphins’ head coach from 2008-11 and went 29-32. He went 11-5 and won the AFC East in his first season with Miami.
Sparano also spent time with the Browns, Redskins, Jaguars and 49ers.
Sparano played at the University of New Haven where he was a four-year letterman. He was hired as New Haven’s head coach in 1994 and held that position for five seasons.
Sparano is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter and four grandchildren.
The Vikings open training camp on July 28.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)