HOUSTON -- Bill Belichick's football mind, many will tell you, is a credit to his late father Steve. But had the Patriots coach heeded one particular bit of advice from his dad, who knows if that mind would have remained dedicated to the sport for more than 40 years?
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On Wednesday, Belichick said that his father, a longtime scout and assistant for the Naval Academy, told him that he may want to pursue a career other than coaching. It can be a difficult path. It involves long hours, oftentimes little pay, and in some ways your fate is out of your hands. If your boss gets canned, that may mean you will, too. If players have a bad year, you may find yourself looking for work.
We know what Bill decided to do, though, and Bill's children have followed in their father's footsteps -- just as he did.
"I got some advice from my dad and I passed that along to my kids," Belichick said. "My dad’s advice was to not get into coaching."
Belichick's oldest son Steve was not deterred. He's now working for his dad as Patriots safeties coach after spending time as a coaching assistant. Belichick's youngest son, Brian, has a job in the team's scouting department. And Belichick's daughter, Amanda, is the women's lacrosse coach at Holy Cross.
Belichick beams when the topic of his children comes up. He has noted just how special it will be to share a Super Bowl experience with his sons on Sunday. But even if they hadn't opted to go into the family business, Belichick explained, he'd be equally proud.
"What I have always said to my kids, or really any young people that have asked me that question, is you have to follow your heart, do what your passion is," Belichick said. "Don’t just take a job because it pays a little more money. Just do what you want to do. Live out your dreams, and try to achieve them.
"They are in what they do because that is what they want to do. It's not my decision. I don’t try to guide them into it, I don’t try to guide them out of it. I try to help them the best I can like any father would try to do for his children. Ultimately, when they become adults and they are ready to make their own decisions then they have a green light to make them. If they ask for my advice I will certainly give them the fatherly advice, the best that I can. But in the end, they are the ones that have to live that.
"That's the same thing when kids are choosing a college or making a decision like that. They are the ones that have to wake up every day, go to school, play on the sports team and get the education at that school. They are the ones that have to be happy at the school, not the parents, not somebody else that is directing them. Again, you try to help them with the decision, but ultimately it's their choice and they are the ones that have to live with it. I try to be supportive and not try to steer it one way or the other."
He probably didn't have to. Coaching, it seems, is in the family's genetic makeup.