Former Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Larry Coyer, who helped lead the team to the 2006 AFC championship, died from “a sudden illness,” his family confirmed in a statement Friday.
Coyer, who spent nearly 50 years coaching at both the collegiate or professional level, was 79.
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce Larry has passed away today after a sudden illness,” the Coyer family wrote, via the Broncos' website.
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“Larry was a well-loved man by many, and we are processing this loss.”
The Broncos also released a statement on social media.
“We’re deeply saddened by the passing of former Broncos DC Larry Coyer. A widely respected coach with a distinguished & remarkable 50+year career, Larry was a key part of four Broncos playoff teams & their ‘05 AFC Championship Game berth.
“Our hearts go out to the Coyer family.”
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Coyer spent seven seasons with the Broncos, first joining the organization as a linebackers coach in 2000. In 2002, he was promoted to defensive coordinator and served in that role another four seasons.
The Broncos made four playoff appearances during Coyer’s tenure that included an AFC championship game, which ended in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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Coyer began his coaching career in 1965 as a defensive backs coach at his alma mater, Marshall University.
He spent several years coaching college football before jumping to the NFL, most recently as the Indianapolis Colts‘ defensive coordinator from 2009 to 2011.