Football

Joe Faragalli passes away at 76

Former CFL head coach Joe Faragalli died Monday of an unspecified illness, eight days shy of his 77th birthday.

Former CFL head coach Joe Faragalli died Monday of an unspecified illness, eight days shy of his 77th birthday.

Faragalli served as head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Edmonton Eskimos and Montreal Alouettes.

He was named CFL coach of the year with Saskatchewan in 1981 and won a Grey Cup with Edmonton in 1987.

"(Joe) meant an awful lot to me," Hall of Fame kicker Dave Ridgway told the Regina Leader-Post. "He was my first coach in the CFL and he was a friend as well.

"We invited Joe and (wife) Lore over for dinner and they came. That was really nice of them to do.

"They returned the favour later on. Papa Joe was truly Italian, he loved his spaghetti.

"He came over, we served spaghetti and meatballs and we ran out. I remember thinking, 'Oh, my God, this is my head coach and we don't have enough food!'"

Faragalli entered the CFL as an offensive coach with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1967 and helped groom standout quarterbacks like Damon Allen, Dieter Brock, Tracy Ham and Warren Moon.

Allen credited Faragalli for helping him win most outstanding player honours in the 1987 Grey Cup, won 38-36 over the Toronto Argonauts.

"Players could go to him," Eskimos chief executive officer Hugh Campbell told the Edmonton Sun. "He also expected everyone to work hard and he was able to get the most out of them,"

"He could have been in any other career. But he loved teaching and he loved coaching."

Faragalli guided the Eskimos back to the Grey Cup in 1990, but lost 50-11 to Winnipeg.

"He was the type of person that made everyone around him want to be as enthusiastic and passionate as he was," Campbell said. "From a winning and losing standpoint, he had a lot to do with the Eskimos winning."

Asked during a Grey Cup media gathering whether he'd permit the players to have sex before the game, Faragalli offered up the now-infamous response: "Actually, the sex itself is calm and soothing. It's the chasing that wears the players out."

Faragalli also enjoyed coaching stints with the Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Oilers and Buffalo Bills in the 1980s.

with files from Canadian Press