John Joseph Idzik, the father of New York Jets general manager John Idzik, died Tuesday at his home in Chadds Ford, Pa., the Jets announced Saturday. He was 85.
Idzik spent his life in football, playing at the University of Maryland and later in the Marines. From there, he got into coaching. He started on the collegiate level but spent 16 years as an NFL assistant. He was a Jets offensive assistant from 1977 to 1979, serving under Walt Michaels. During that period, Idzik brought his son to training camp on Long Island, giving John his first exposure to the Jets.
Here is an excerpt from an ESPNNewYork.com story that appeared last January, shortly after John was hired as the GM:
His father was a ballplayer, and a good one -- a football man to the core.
John Idzik was a schoolboy star in Philadelphia, played in the Marines and played fullback at the University of Maryland in the late 1940s. He got into coaching, college and pro -- 10 different places in 27 years, including three seasons as the Jets' quarterbacks coach under Walt Michaels.
Sadly, Idzik's health is failing. He's 84, battling dementia, diabetes and heart problems, according to his wife, who said neurologists believe the dementia was caused by too many blows to the head in football. She recalled times when he was knocked unconscious and returned a few plays later.
"It makes me sick to see him go downhill," Joyce said. "He was so vibrant."
The eldest Idzik uses a walker and requires 24-hour care. He doesn't speak much. He says "yes" and "no," and nods his head. When told the news Friday that his son was the new boss of the Jets, he nodded and said, "Jets," according to Joyce.
Arrangements are being made by Chandler Funeral Home of Wilmington, Del. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in John’s memory to Concordia Lutheran Church in Wilmington, where relatives and friends are invited to a viewing at noon on Dec. 14, followed by a service and burial.