- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- Former Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese was named to the inaugural four-man class as winners of the Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award by the Pro Football Writers of America.
Zimmerman was a long-time Sports Illustrated writer and loved the X's and O's of the game, spending hours with assistant coaches across the NFL. The award is a lifetime achievement as an assistant coach in the NFL.
Joining Zampese in the class are Howard Mudd, Fritz Shurmur and Jim Johnson.
“I had some great quarterbacks who ran the offense great,” Zampese told Peter King of TheMMQB. “It comes back to being in the perfect spot so many times. In Dallas, what a great position that was to be in, with such great offensive talent.”
From 1994-97, he directed the Cowboys' offense with the Triplets – Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith. He served as a consultant with the Cowboys in 2000-01.
In his Hall of Fame speech, Aikman called Zampese, “one of the best offensive minds and greatest people that this game has ever known.”
After clinching a spot in Super Bowl XXX, Aikman said of Zampese, “He’s just tremendous the way he prepares for a game. Not very often do we go into a game when a team throws something at us that Ernie hasn’t anticipated.”