Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano feels the pain of people all over the world who were shocked to learn yesterday of the passing of James Gandolfini, star of the HBO television series, The Sopranos. Schiano and Gandolfini were close friends.
“I am sad to hear of the passing of Jim Gandolfini,” Coach Schiano said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “He was a great supporter of Rutgers Football long before it was fashionable to be so. His generosity in helping us lent relevance to our football program at a time when it was desperately needed.”
“In addition to his acting acclaim, he will be remembered by all Rutgers people as a compassionate alum and a great New Jerseyian.”
Gandolfini was a passionate Rutgers alum who generously supported the school’s football program. The two buddies appeared in a billboard together, with the school forking over $12,000 for the ad to be prominently displayed near Miami International Airport, a recruiting hotbed for Schiano’s team.
Schiano and Gandolfini filmed a commercial together promoting Rutgers as well, and the actor was a fixture on the sidelines at games.
Gandolfini was just 51. It is believed that he suffered a heart attack.