New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, one of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL, often thanks his late father, Stephen Nickolas Belichick, for teaching him everything he knows about the game and life.
“That’s who I learned from,” he said in January, ahead of this year’s Super Bowl. “Working hard, doing your job, paying attention to details, treating the players as fairly and honestly as you can treat them. If it’s good, it’s good; if it’s bad, it’s bad. Just being honest with them. I would say all of those things I got from a lot of coaches, but I certainly got it from him.”
The legendary NFL coach spoke with CNBC contributor Suzy Welch in 2017 about a wide range of topics, including his leadership tips and his career as one of the most successful coaches in the sport’s history.
“I learned coaching at an early age and how coaches think. What bothers them. What doesn’t bother them,” Belichick said.
He highlighted two major lessons he’s learned from his dad over the years.
Work hard no matter the circumstances
Steve was the youngest of five children and “grew up kind of in a poor environment,” Belichick said. “Went through the Depression. Father was out of work. Two of his brothers had to drop out of school. And World War II.”
He continued: “So his big break really was football. [He] worked his way through college and made a career out of football and ultimately ended up here at the Naval Academy where I think he was destined to be.”
A child of immigrants himself, Steve viewed people settling in the U.S. as great examples of achievement and hard work. He often told Bill about how much he learned from “the quality of people that come [to the U.S.] because of their toughness, their work ethic and their devotion to the country,” Belichick said.
In turn, Steve worked to instill those traits in Bill as a child. “So many of those lessons I learned either from him or from my association with the people at the Naval Academy, which represented those same values,” Belichick said.
Do what you love
When it came to his career, Belichick said his father taught him to follow his passion. It’s a lesson he has passed on to his own children, all of whom have jobs in sports. His daughter coaches lacrosse while his sons work for the New England Patriots.
“I’ve told them the same thing my dad told me: follow your heart,” Belichick said. “If there’s something that you love and that’s your passion when you’re young, do it. Let everything else take care of itself. Don’t do it for money or some other motivation, do it because it’s what you want to do.”
Written by Zameena Mejia