Steve Belichick

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Steve Belichick
Steve Belichick.png
Belichick in Yackety Yack 1954,
North Carolina yearbook
Biographical details
Born(1919-01-07)January 7, 1919
Monessen, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedNovember 19, 2005(2005-11-19) (aged 86)
Annapolis, Maryland, U.S.
Playing career
1938–1940Western Reserve
1941Detroit Lions
1942Great Lakes Navy
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1949–1952Vanderbilt (backfield)
1953–1955North Carolina (backfield)
1956–1989Navy (backfield/scout)
Head coaching record
Overall8–12–2 (football)
24–29 (basketball)
Accomplishments and honors
Case Western Reserve Hall of Fame (1976)[1]

Stephen Nickolas Belichick (January 7, 1919 – November 19, 2005) was an American football player, coach, and scout. He played college football at Western Reserve University, now known as Case Western Reserve University, from 1938 to 1940 and then in the National Football League (NFL) with the Detroit Lions in 1941. After serving in World War II, Belichick began his coaching career. From 1946 to 1949, he was the head football coach and the head basketball coach at Hiram College. He continued on as an assistant coach in college football with stints at Vanderbilt University (1949–1952), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1953–1955), and then for 34 years at the United States Naval Academy (1956–1989).

Belichick's son, Bill, is the current head coach of the NFL's New England Patriots. His grandsons, Stephen and Brian, serve as position coaches for the Patriots — outside linebackers and safeties, respectively.[2]

Playing career[edit]

After graduation from Struthers High School,[3] Belichick played college football at Western Reserve, now known as Case Western Reserve University, where he played at fullback. Most notably, he was a member of the 1938 team, who went a perfect 9–0, and the bowl-qualifying 1940 team, where he scored several touchdowns in his senior season.[4] During the school's first and only bowl game, the 1941 Sun Bowl victory over Arizona State, he scored the first touchdown of the game.

After graduation, he worked as an equipment manager for the Detroit Lions. The team was struggling, and Belichick reportedly told the coach, Bill Edwards, "I can do better than most of the guys you've got."[5] Edwards, who had coached Belichick at Western Reserve, agreed, and signed him as a player. Although the team's fortunes did not improve, Belichick had some success, scoring a 65-yard punt return touchdown in a loss against the New York Giants.[5]

During a portion of his military time during World War II, Belichick played for the successful 1942 Great Lakes Navy Bluejackets football team.[6]

Coaching and scouting career[edit]

In 1942, Belichick joined the United States Navy, serving in both Europe and the Pacific.[7] After he completed his service in 1946, he became the head coach at Hiram College, southeast of Cleveland.[3] In 1949, he left Hiram to become the backfield coach at Vanderbilt University,[8] where he spent two seasons before joining the University of North Carolina as an assistant to George Barclay in 1953.[9] Both the Vanderbilt and North Carolina coaching jobs were alongside Belichick's former collegiate and professional head football coach, Bill Edwards.

In 1956, Belichick joined the United States Naval Academy staff under Eddie Erdelatz, where he served primarily as a scout for over 30 years. His book Football Scouting Methods (Ronald Press, 1962) became a standard, described by Charley Casserly as the best book on the subject he had read,[7] and by Bleacher Report as the "Bible" of football scouting.[10]

In 1982, Nick Saban was on the Navy football staff with Belichick.

Personal life[edit]

Steve Belichick was the youngest of five children born to Marija Barković and Ivan Biličić, who immigrated to the United States in 1897 from Draganić, Karlovac, Croatia and settled in Pennsylvania.[11][12][13] After their marriage, the couple changed their names legally to Mary and John Belichick, reportedly at the suggestion of Immigration Center.[12] In 1924, the family moved to Struthers, Ohio, where Steve Belichick maintained strong ties with the local Croatian community.[13] In 1951, he married Jeannette Ruth Munn, with whom he had one child, Bill.[7][14] Their son is currently the head coach of the New England Patriots and has cited his father, with whom he began analyzing game film at the age of 10, as his chief early influence.[15]


Located inside the Wyant Field House at DiSanto Field in Cleveland, the 4500-square foot Steve Belichick Varsity Weight Room is utilized by the Case Western Reserve Spartans football team.[16] Belichick was inducted into the Case Western Reserve University Athletics Hall of Fame for both football and basketball in 1976.[1]

The Belichick Library on the campus of the United States Naval Academy was principally donated by Steve Belichick, and consists of books on football strategy and history, as well as Navy Football memorabilia. His son has contributed to it in recent years, and it is considered one of the largest collections of football-related works outside of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[17]

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Hiram Terriers (Independent) (1946–1948)
1946 Hiram 5–3
1947 Hiram 2–4–1
1948 Hiram 1–5–1
Hiram: 8–12–2
Total: 8–12–2


  1. ^ a b Stephen Belichick. "Stephen Belichick - Case Western Reserve profile". Retrieved 2017-01-15.
  2. ^ Joyce, Greg (2020-08-21). "The Patriots' sidelines will feature a third Belichick this season". New York Post. Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  3. ^ a b "Belichick named Hiram grid coach". Youngstown Vindicator. Ohio. Associated Press. June 17, 1946. p. 10.
  4. ^ "WESTERN RESERVE WINS; Upsets Boston University, 19-0 -Booth Goes 95 and 39 Yards". The New York Times. November 3, 1940.
  5. ^ a b Daley, Arthur (November 10, 1941). "Leemans is Star of 20-13 Triumph". The New York Times.
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c Litsky, Frank (November 21, 2005). "Steve Belichick, 86, Coach Who Wrote the Book on Scouting". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
  8. ^ "Steve Belichick Quits To Accept New Post". The Hartford Courant. February 23, 1949.
  9. ^ "Belichick in Coaching Shift". The New York Times. April 5, 1953.
  10. ^ Michael Schottey (2012-02-23). "The 11 Football Books Any True Student of the Game Must Read". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
  11. ^ Ryan, Bob (November 21, 2005). "Belichick learned well from dad". Boston Globe.
  12. ^ a b "Bill Belichick: Djed iz Draganića uvijek mi je pričao o Hrvatskoj" [My grandfather from Draganić always told me about Croatia] (in Croatian). Jutarnji list. February 22, 2007. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013.
  13. ^ a b Mihovilović, Maroje (January 29, 2008). "Hrvatska obitelj na vrhu NFL-a" [Croatian family at the top of the NFL]. Nacional (in Croatian). No. 637. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  14. ^ King, Peter (February 16, 2005). "This Is The Way It's Supposed To Be". Sports Illustrated.
  15. ^ Shapiro, Leonard (January 28, 2005). "For Belichick, Father Truly Knew Best". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
  16. ^ "The Observer: NFL coach donates funding for construction of north side field house". 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
  17. ^ "At the Naval Academy, the 'Belichick Collection' speaks volumes". The Boston Globe. 2017-01-30. Retrieved 2019-11-19.

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