Coach Chan Gailey Suffers Heart Attack

Gailey Suffers Heart Attack (WSBTV)

Georgia Tech football coach Chan Gailey suffered a heart attack Monday while playing racquetball at the campus recreation center, school officials said. Gailey was taken to Piedmont Hospital after experiencing chest pains. He underwent a balloon angioplasty, a procedure that is used to clear a blocked artery, spokeswoman Allison George said. “He’s expected to be in the hospital three or four days,” she said. “He will make a complete recovery.”

George was not aware of Gailey having any previous heart problems. The coach turned 53 in January.


Gailey previously coached the Dallas Cowboys for two seasons, leading the team to an NFC East championship and consecutive playoff appearances. Despite that success, he was fired by owner Jerry Jones.

Gailey also worked as an assistant with the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers ands Miami Dolphins. He was a head coach at Samford and Troy State and served a one-year stint in the same position with the Birmingham Fire of the ill-fated World League of American Football.

As a Cowboys fan, Alabamian, and former teacher at Troy State (albeit after Gailey’s tenure), I’ve followed Gailey’s career over the years and have a great deal of admiration for him. I wish him the best.

The idea that his tenure with the Cowboys, following so closely on their three Super Bowl wins in four years dynasty, was a “success” is charitable, to say the least, however. Much of the fault was with the poor decisions made by owner-general manager Jerry Jones–as he himself admits–but Gailey was a mediocre NFL head coach.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Doug says:

    Mediocre? He was a horrible coach. HORRIBLE.

    Nobody can replace the Jimster.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Well, horrible overstates it. Gailey’s two seasons with the Cowboys:

    1998 10-6 1st, NFC East
    1999 8-8 2nd, NFC East

    That’s sandwiched in between Barry Switzer’s 6-10 final season and three consecutive 5-11 seasons under Dave Campo.

  3. Chad Evans says:

    The players loved Gaily while he was in Dallas, which is probably part of the reason why the team did not meet expectations. It was also a team that was getting gutted out by the salary cap and free agency, along with Jones playing ‘Let’s Make a Deal.”