Joe Brodsky, Former Dallas Cowboys Coach, Dies

Former Dallas Cowboys running backs coach Joe Brodsky has died.

Joe Brodsky Photo When Emmitt Smith thanked those who helped make him the NFL’s all-time leading rusher at his retirement announcement, his running backs coach for eight seasons, Joe Brodsky, was near the top of the list.

Brodsky died Thursday after a battle with prostate cancer at his Miami Lakes home. He was 71.

“Joe was a big contributor to the success we enjoyed in the 1990s,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “As his primary responsibility was the nurturing and development of the NFL’s all-timer leading rusher, he was an obvious success in that endeavor. But he also touched and influenced the lives and careers of hundreds of success stories in the high school, college and pro football levels. We grieve for his family and their loss, and we appreciate his contributions to the history of the Dallas Cowboys.”

Brodsky left the University of Miami with Jimmy Johnson and helped the Cowboys win three Super Bowls. He helped Smith and fullback Daryl Johnston earn Pro Bowl honors.

Brodsky is survived by his wife of 49 years, Joyce, three sons and three grandchildren.

A shame. I had no idea that he was ill–or that he was quite so old.

OTB Sports

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James Joyner
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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. I saw that yesterday and meant to e-mail you/post to OTB sports, but did not.

    I had the same reaction–especially in re: his age.

  2. tony yaniz says:

    Broke my heart. Joltin’ Joe was a HUGE influence in my youth when I played for Jackson High (66-68). He taught me about, hard-work, loyalty and sacrifice. I owe him

  3. Art Berkowitz says:

    For anyone interested in more detail about Joe’s life they can go to my blogsite. Below are some highlights:

    …Joe was an All American high school player at Miami Jackson High school and then became an All American college player at the University of Florida. If you go on the University of Florida website, you will find that some of his records still stand today! For over 40 years, his record for interception return yardage stood as an NCAA record.

    …his greatest accomplishments were as a coach and family man.

    …he led two different high schools to state championships – Miami Jackson and Hialeah Miami Lakes – and then was a coach of an NCAA (University of Miami) and a Super Bowl championship team (Dallas Cowboys). He is the only coach to have ever done that! (That’s a good trivia question).

    Joe also had two children who became star athletes after playing for him in high school. He had the added pleasure of coaching the Hialeah Miami Lakes football team to a state championship with his son Joe, Jr. playing quarterback and his other son, Larry, playing receiver. In an interesting twist of fate, Larry played with Herschel Walker when they both were with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL and played on the first USFL game ever televised.

    …What impressed me most about Joe was that he turned down numerous offers so that he would not have his family traipsing around the country, even though he saw some of his closest friends become nationally recognized sports figures… But Joe was satisfied being a great teacher and a wonderful husband and father.

    How do I know all of this? You see Joe Brodsky was also my cousin and … Joe was truly a man of moral courage.