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Home » New England PatriotsNovember 2005 » Stephen Nickolas Belichick, 1919-2005

Stephen Nickolas Belichick, 1919-2005

Photograph from the Washington Post

Steve Belichick died late Saturday night after spending his day as he loved, watching college football, of course. His Midshipmen won, overcoming a halftime deficit to beat Temple. His son did not tell his team of his loss until after they had defeated the New Orleans Saints.

Anything that can be said about the elder Belichick has already been said far more eloquently than I ever could in David Halberstam’s The Education of a Coach.

“Steve Belichick also passed on to his son--a far more privileged young man operating in an infinitely more affluent America--a relentless work ethic, one that had been part of his own boyhood as the son of Croatian immigrants who had settled in Youngstown, Ohio, and had survived the Depression. The lessons of that difficult childhood and young manhood were never forgotten. If you were new in the country and your name was Belichick (or Bilicic, as it had been until it was changed by a first-grade teacher in Monessen, Pennsylvania, who had trouble spelling it), you were likely to get the worst jobs available. But you always worked hard. You always did your best. You did not complain. You wasted nothing. You had to be careful in good times because bad times would surely follow. Nothing was to be bought on credit. As a high school fullback Steve had earned a scholarship at Western Reserve, but just to remind himself how lucky he was, he had taken a job in the mills during the months after graduation, turning coal into coke for 49 cents an hour, unbearably hot, unpleasant and dangerous work. Nothing else in his life would ever seem hard again.”

Requiscat in pace.

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