Larry Coyer, former Broncos defensive coordinator, dead at 79 from ‘sudden illness’

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Former Denver Broncos Defensive coordinator Larry Coyer, who helped lead the team to the 2006 AFC championship, died of «sudden illness,» his family confirmed in a statement Friday.

Coyer, who spent nearly 50 years coaching in both the collegiate or professional level, was 79.

Broncos defensive coordinator Larry Coyer walks down the field as players stretch. (Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

«It is with a heavy heart that we announce that Larry passed away today after a sudden illness,» the Coyer family wrote, via the Broncos’ website.

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«Larry was a man loved by many and we are processing this loss.»

The Broncos also issued a statement on social media.

«We are deeply saddened by the passing of former DC Broncos Larry Coyer. A highly respected coach with a distinguished and remarkable career spanning more than 50 years, Larry was a key part of four Broncos playoff teams and their berth in the Game of 2005 AFC Championship.

Broncos linebackers coach Larry Coyer before a game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle.

Broncos linebackers coach Larry Coyer before a game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. (Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

«Our hearts go out to the Coyer family.»

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Coyer spent seven seasons with the Broncos, first joining the organization as linebackers coach in 2000. In 2002, he was promoted to defensive coordinator and served in that role for 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.

Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Larry Coyer leads the defense in a practice during minicamp July 7, 2006, at the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Center in Dove Valley Business Park in Englewood, Colorado.

Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Larry Coyer leads the defense in a practice during minicamp July 7, 2006, at the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Center in Dove Valley Business Park in Englewood, Colorado. (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

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Coyer began his coaching career in 1965 as the defensive backs coach at his alma mater, Marshall University.

He spent several years coaching college football before jumping into the NFL, most recently as the Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator from 2009 to 2011.

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