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Former Jets DL Coach Denny Marcin Dies at 75

Posted Sep 22, 2017

'The Old Ball Coach' Guided Jets & Giants D-Lines Among Many Stops in 40-Plus Years on the Sidelines


We in the Jets family and around the NFL will miss the gravelly voice, the wit and wisdom, and the personality of Denny Marcin.

Marcin, "the Old Ball Coach" as he was known, died at the age of 75 on Wednesday in Southport, NC.

Marcin barked out his directions, suggestions and observations, always with his baseball cap turned backward, for the Jets and Giants among many other teams in his more than four decades of coaching the game he loved.

He was born in Cleveland in 1942 and it didn't take long to gravitate to the Ohio gridirons as he played at Benedictine High School and Miami University. After his playing days, he became an assistant coach at St. Edward HS in Lakewood, OH, eventually moving up to head coach there in 1972-73.

Then it was on to the college ranks. Marcin spent four years at his Miami alma mater, 10 seasons coaching the North Carolina — as D-coordinator from 1978-86, during which time he coached Lawrence Taylor, and assistant HC from '87-88 — and nine years at Illinois.

Finally, Denny climbed up to the pros. He coached the Giants' defensive line from 1997-2003, guiding the likes of Michael Strahan and Keith Hamilton and helping contribute to their appearance in Super Bowl XXXV after the 2000 season.

Along the way, he became a published author in 1997 of "Coaching Football's Tilted-Nose Technique."

Marcin was let go by the Giants after the 2003 season and Jets head coach Herm Edwards, in need of a DL coach, was all over it.

"When you have a coach with Denny's record, what he's done, you don't let those guys go," Edwards said at the time. "I think it's a good match for us. He was a guy I wanted to interview. It went very well, he felt very comfortable here, and I said, 'I won't let you get out of the building.' You're not going to get a better defensive line coach than this guy."

Marcin coached the Jets' D-linemen from 2004-06, which included a pair of 10-win seasons. Among his players on the Green & White were Shaun Ellis and John Abraham.

After retiring from coaching, Denny and his wife, Betsey, retired to Southport. Among his many activities, he received his Master Gardener certification and took great pride in his lawn and garden. And he remained affiliated with the Jets as a scout, and in that role would be a visitor for several summers at the Jets' Cortland University training camp.

And football fans and friends might have been lucky enough to run into the Old Ball Coach in the evening after a Cortland practice, perhaps at Uncle Louie's Backyard, where they could hoist a few pints and exchange some stories and laughs once more.

Marcin also remained a loyal fan of UNC and college football via his Facebook account. And as he battled illness, he recounted on FB the many visitors who came by his home to reminisce about all the good times together.

Denny is survived by Betsey, sons Jeff and Denny, daughters Melinda and Susan, and six grandchildren.

The family will greet friends from 5-8 p.m. at Peacock, Newnam & White Funeral Home in Southport, NC, on Monday, Sept. 25. The funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Southport.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Kiwanis Club of Southport-Oak Island, P.O. Box 11487, Southport, NC 28461 or the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 230 East Ohio St., Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60611.

Online condolences may be made at peacocknewnamwhite.com.

 


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