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John Joseph Idzik, who coached Baltimore Colts and was player, coach for Terps, dies

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John Joseph Idzik, 85, who coached the Baltimore Colts during two stints in the 1970s and 1980s after playing for and later coaching the Maryland Terrapins football team, died on Tuesday.

Idzik, of Chadds Ford, Pa., owns the fifth-best punt return average in Terps history (12.38) and also played defensive back and halfback after accepting a football scholarship in 1947. Also a third baseman for the Terps' baseball team, he attended Maryland despite receiving a contract offer after high school from the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club.

In the 1948 Gator Bowl, Idzik rushed for 32 yards as the Terps and Georgia tied, 20-20. Two years later, Idzik intercepted a pass that set up Maryland's first score in a 20-7 Gator Bowl win over Missouri.

After serving in the United States Marine Corps from 1951 to 1953, Idzik began a coaching career at the University of Tennessee that eventually led him to Baltimore, where he coached the Colts' offensive backfield from 1970 to 1972, winning Super Bowl V with the Colts in 1970.

He left the Colts to become offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1973 to 1976 and was offensive coordinator of the New York Jets from from 1977-1979, but returned to Baltimore as offensive backfield coach in 1980 and 1981.

He was an offensive assistant coach at Maryland from 1956 to 1958 and head coach of the University of Detroit from 1961 until taking a coaching job at Tulane in 1965. Idzik also coached for the Miami Dolphins, CFL's Ottawa Roughriders, the USFL's Washington Federals and the Aberdeen (Scotland) Oilers in the British American Football League.

Idzik, a Philadelphia native, is survived by his wife, Joyce Joann Idzik, daughter Cynthia Lynn Idzik-Starr and husband Paul, son John Arthur Idzik and wife Carol, daughter Joyce Leigh Harms and husband Kevin, sister Laura Novasack and five grandchildren.

A viewing will be held at Corcordia Lutheran Church at 3003 Silverside Road in Wilmington, Del., at noon on Dec. 14, followed by a funeral service. Burial will follow at Lower Brandywine Cemetary, 101 Old Kennett Road, Wilmington, Del. The family asks that donations be made in Idzik's memory to Concordia Lutheran Church.

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