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  1. Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano dies at 56 Austin Knoblauch Digital Content Editor Print Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach and former Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano died unexpectedly Sunday, the team announced. He was 56. "Our hearts go out to Jeanette and the entire Sparano family as we all mourn the loss of Tony," Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf said in a statement. "Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family, and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. Tony's presence within the Vikingsorganization will be deeply missed. We are only thinking of Tony's family during this incredibly difficult time. We ask that the entire NFL and Vikings family keep the Sparanos in their thoughts." Sparano was entering his third season as the Vikings' offensive line coach under Mike Zimmer as part of a 20-year long NFL coaching career that began in 1999 when he was hired as an offensive quality control coach for the new Cleveland Browns franchise. After several assistant coaching jobs with multiple NFL teams, the Dolphins hired Sparano as their head coach in 2008 following the team's 1-15 campaign. He guided the Dolphins to an 11-5 mark and a first-place finish in the AFC East in 2008, becoming the first coach in NFL history to lead a team to the postseason after a one-win season. Sparano posted a 29-32 record in his nearly four seasons with the Dolphins. He served as the Oakland Raiders' interim head coach in 2014 after the team fired Dennis Allen, posting a 3-9 mark. Sparano was born in West Haven, Connecticut, on Oct. 7, 1961. He was a starting center for the University of New Haven, where he played from 1978-81 and helped the NCAA Division II team achieve its first undefeated season in 1979. He is a member of the New Haven Football Hall of Fame. After breaking into the collegiate coaching ranks with his alma mater as an offensive line coach from 1984-87, Sparano spent six seasons at Boston College, where he served as an O-line coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator. He then returned to New Haven in 1994 as the team's head coach, posting a 41-14 record over five seasons before joining the Browns' coaching staff. In addition to the Browns, Dolphins, Raidersand Vikings, Sparano coached with the Redskins, Jaguars, Cowboys, Jets and 49ersduring his career. Sparano is survived by his wife Jeanette, his sons Tony and Andrew, his daughter, Ryan Leigh, and his four grandchildren. Dang this is crazy, he was so young nothing but Respect. Both he and Smith turned their franchises around when they came in. He brought them back from 1-15. R.i.p and take care man. Praying for the family