Las Vegas Locos head coach Jim Fassel has been named the 2010 United Football League Coach of the Year.
Fassel guided the Locos to the franchise’s second consecutive Championship Game appearance with a 5-3 record and his team clinched a place in the season finale after Week 7 of the regular season.
The Locos overcame an opening weekend loss to Championship Game opponent the Florida Tuskers that was followed by a bye week and then won five straight games to race to a 5-1 record that set them apart in first place in the standings. The Locos ended the season as the top seed with a 5-3 final record.
“Jim Fassel has had another outstanding season and I am delighted to announce that he is our coach of the year,” said United Football League Commissioner Michael Huyghue. “This season he also assumed the responsibilities of being the team’s General Manager and has built not only a winning team on the field, but also an outstanding organization in the city of Las Vegas. This off-season Jim also underlined his commitment to the team market by making Las Vegas his permanent home.
“There were of course other candidates for the award, but Jim’s first place record and winning five straight games to clinch a Championship Game berth gave him the edge.”
Fassel holds a 10-5 coaching record in the UFL and led the Locomotives to the inaugural title in 2009. His team finished last year’s regular season with a 4-2 record and the 2010 campaign with five wins and three losses
“I spent 19 years in the NFL, 14 years in college coaching, and this is as enjoyable an experience as I have ever had,” said Fassel. “This is good football. This league is going to be around for a while.”
As head coach of the New York Giants, Fassel resurrected the career of quarterback Kerry Collins and received acclaim for his playoff guarantee in the 2000 season, during which he led the Giants to an improbable Super Bowl appearance. Fassel has a long record of offensive successes and has tutored other prominent quarterbacks including Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason, Jeff Hoestetler and John Elway.
Prior to becoming the Giants head coach, Fassel was the team’s offensive coordinator and served in the same capacity with the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders. Fassel was also the offensive coordinator to the Baltimore Ravens for the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
He began his coaching career as an offensive coordinator at the University of Utah and Stanford University before being elevated to head coach at Utah. Fassel took a break from coaching when he was hired as color commentator on NFL Sunday Night Game broadcasts for the Westwood One Radio Network and also served as a color analyst on ESPN.
The recipient of numerous awards including the 2000 NFL Coach of the Year by the Sporting News, NJ Sports Writers Association and the Victor Awards Pro Football Coach of the Year, Fassel has also been honored for his work off of the field. He received the Catholic Big Brothers of the Year Award (1998), the Fresh Air Fund Man of the Year (1999) and the Long Beach State University Distinguished Alumnus Award (2001).