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The Education of a Coach

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  3,462 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
Bill Belichick+s thirty-one years in the NFL have been marked by amazing success-most recently, his wins in two of the last three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots. In this groundbreaking new book, David Halberstam explores the nuances of both the game and the man behind it. He uncovers what makes Bill Belichick tick both on and off the field, as a coach, a father, ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Hyperion
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Jason Koivu
Jun 20, 2012 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, sports
If you decide to read this you're going to want to be a Patriots fan. If you're not, you run the risk of projectile vomiting.


In The Education of a Coach, Halberstam has crafted an excellent treatise on the coaching aspect of Bill Belichick's life and it's almost nothing but praise. It stops short of out-and-out sycophancy, citing Belichick's faults, most notably displayed in a rough five years with the troubled Cleveland Browns. But how can you blame Halberstam for showering praise upon the man
Jan 26, 2013 lindsey rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, ebook, sports
let me start by saying that if youre looking for a biography of a public figure which reads like a novel OR has some sort of life-affirming message, this probably isnt going to be what youre looking for.

however, if youre interested in both the complicated history of football (as told mostly though coaching and front-office politics), and like to savor the technical aspects of organizing and executing at the highest level of football, then youll find this an enjoyable read.

im a pretty huge footb
May 12, 2010 Ice rated it liked it
Shelves: sports, inspriational
Pulitzer-winning journalist and author Halberstam focuses on Bill Belichick, one of the NFL's most successful coaches, and the game of football as a team sport with rich detail, exacting research and colorful anecdotes. He reveals what fans of the head coach of the New England Patriots have always known: the roots of Belichick's coaching lie in the essential mentoring by his father, an excellent teacher and college coach who taught his son how to scout players and teams, instructing the author o ...more
Dec 17, 2007 Patrick rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Patriot/Football fans
I had the good fortune to have started this book only a week or two before the 'Spygate' scandal broke out, and it really provided some context into the whole situation for me. Belichick is a guy who will do anything to win, and it's not inconceivable that this is something he would do. That said, I do think he is an honorable man as well, and I don't think what he did was the dramatic mess it was made out to be. With great success comes the inevitable backlash, and that's what 'spygate' was, no ...more
Roger DeBlanck
Jan 27, 2012 Roger DeBlanck rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Between 2002-2005 the New England Patriots football team accomplished the improbable: winning three Super Bowls in four years. David Halberstam’s book details how the franchise’s remarkable success rests largely in the hands of their coach, Bill Belichick. In this engaging biography, Halberstam traces the Belichick family ancestry and chronicles the upbringing of young Belichick under his revered father, Steve, a lifetime coach and gifted scout. Steve taught his son at the age of nine how to bec ...more
Apr 07, 2012 Riley rated it liked it
I have almost zero interest in football, but my faith in David Halberstam is so great that I got this. It’s an incredibly glowing biography of Patriots coach Bill Belichick that at time approaches hagiography. Part of that, no doubt, is because the Patriots’ Spygate scandal was only uncovered two years after the book was published. While well written and serious like all of Halberstam's works, it doesn’t come off as one of his best.
Taro Yamashita
Dec 30, 2008 Taro Yamashita rated it it was ok
Biography of New England Patriots head coach, Bill Bellichick. The coverage seems pretty good for his very early years, but then lacks details once he gets a foothold in professional coaching. The book seems to have been written without the benefit of direct research involving Bellichick himself, and gets less and less interesting as the book progresses.
Jun 12, 2010 Marco rated it really liked it
I don't even watch football anymore, but Halberstam does such a great job of narrating the subtleties of being a professional coach, the strategies, the intrigues, that I was completely drawn into the narrative.
M. Newman
Jan 16, 2011 M. Newman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports
This biography of Bill Belichik (whom, as I root for the Jets, I hate) is the best biography of a sports coach that I have ever read.
Dec 10, 2009 Patdmac7 rated it liked it
Winter 2007

- (Steve) Belichick’s general defensive philosophy was simple: Find out what the other guys do best—which is what they always want to do, especially under pressure in a big game—take it away from them, and make them do things that they are uncomfortable with. 3

-You worked hard. You saved. You did not waste anything. If possible, you grew your own food. You did not complain. You did not expect anyone to do anything for you. Discipline was not so much taught as it was lived, as an essen
Feb 25, 2017 John rated it really liked it
You know, I think this might be the first football book I've ever read. It seems unlikely - I have read a lot of baseball books - but I can't think of any other football book. Huh. Well, this was a good first football book. I like that Halberstam was not really a "football person" either. He admits in the acknowledgements that he was basically just a casual fan, like me, and I think it helped make the book readable.
I thought this was great. It's crazy - Bill Belichick has been thinking about bei
Bob Schmitz
Oct 28, 2015 Bob Schmitz rated it liked it
Shelves: sports
The book is about the football life of Bill Belichick the coach of the New England Patriots.

His father, Steve, had escaped the mines of West Virginia with a football scholarship and went on to be an assistant coach with a long career in Annapolis. Steve was renowned for being able to watch tape and see subtle tendencies in the opposition to prepare for the next game. While other assistants might scout a game laughing and talking among themselves Steve would sit with a pad of paper and 15 sharpe
William Berry
Mar 03, 2017 William Berry rated it really liked it
Dry as heck, but a must read for Patriot fans.
Chris Gager
Sep 24, 2013 Chris Gager rated it liked it
I've been sneaking looks at this one while reading about those earlier Patriot in Lexington and Concord. Pretty interesting...

Well into it now and finding it solid and interesting enough. I'm reading this as a break from Rabbit Angstrom. Book II is next... Interesting that both have much to do with Pennsylvania!

I'm in the middle of an accounting of Belichick's time at Andover as a PG(Post Graduate). A PG is someone, usually a public high school graduate and often a star athlete, who attends a pr
Nov 29, 2012 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick lead his team to three Super Bowl victories in a span of four years. In a time where the National Football League actively encourages parity—and therefore discouraging the sort of success enjoyed by the Patriots—Belichick’s accomplishments are already approaching legendary status.

Halberstam asks what sort of upbringing, training, and experience could produce such a coach. His answer is this facinating professional biography.

The son of a football coach, B
Aug 07, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it
The typical, beautiful, weaving Halberstam narrative that you find in his sports books. If for no other reason, it's a good reason to check this book out.

Two, Belichick gave him no access and to a large degree it's less about Belichick but about where he acquired his muse, his demeanor and the tenets of how he operates as an NFL coach.

A lot of the focus is on Belichick's father, Steve, a long-time player, coach and scout. It then curves into Belichick's career and his "four-year apprenticeship
Sep 30, 2015 Jan rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
As a Patriots and Belichick fan, I really enjoyed 'The Education of a Coach', as it gives good insight into how Bill grew up, as well as some of his long-standing colleagues and friends, such as Ernie Adams.

Overall, it is well-written and researched, and therefore a good read. Some noticeable highlights for me are:
*) Learning more about Belichick's family background and Steve Belichick's career, and in particular how a nine-year old Bill would break down film with him
*) I also loved hearing more
Jun 06, 2012 Mighty_k24 rated it really liked it
In't kort: biografie van American Footballcoach Bill Belichick, die in de eerste helft van de naughties 3x de SuperBowl won met de New England Patriots. Die zeges zijn echter enkel het sluitstuk van een odyssee die al begon bij zijn prille opvoeding. Vader Steve, zoon van Kroatische inwijkelingen (Belicic werd al snel veramerikaanst tot Belichick), raakte geïnteresseerd en later geobsedeerd door het spelletje en schopte het tot assistent-coach van een befaamde universiteitsploeg. Op die manier w ...more
Mar 18, 2014 H. rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, sports
The main obstacle to the worthy story of Bill Belichick, his roots and methodology, is Halberstam's inartistic prose. He gives in immediately to doting superlatives, so that over the many decades and cast of hundreds of football men he covers, every action and person is the "most," "best," or "-est." Sometimes there are as many as three superlatives in a sentence, which become numbing and unconvincing.

But Halberstam succeeds in compelling with story structure, though still lumbering, pasting fla
Scott Bocchio
Jul 24, 2015 Scott Bocchio rated it liked it
The Education of a Coach is a detailed character study of 4 time Super Bowl winning NFL coach Bill Belichick. It includes everything that moulded and shaped Coach Belichick into the man he is today, such as his father's life and career which sparked Bill's interest in football at a very young age, along with his years working up as an underling for several pro teams, his success experienced as New York Giants defensive coordinator in the '80s, his struggles as a first time head coach in Clevelan ...more
Jan 24, 2008 Kk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historcial, sports
Started reading the book during the playoffs, during the Pats historic run. Surprisingly inspiring. Although a sports nut already--if you can't tell by me picking up this book in the first place; reading this and getting a different/inside look at the "genius" made me into a bigger fan of the Patriots. You want to see this guy and his teams win more. All the more shocking when they came up short in one of the greatest games that I can ever remember watching. Put the book down for a couple days a ...more
Scott Martin
Jun 05, 2016 Scott Martin rated it really liked it
I read some of Halberstam's work before and when I saw this book, figured it would be worth the read. Overall, it was. Halberstam, in a relatively short volume, attempts to describe some of the key motivations for how arguably the greatest football coach since 2000 operates. Football was in Bill Belicheck's blood, as he father emerged from his hard-scrabble Ohio family immigrant upbringings to become a top scout for many football programs. Bill took his father's skill and dedication and applied ...more
Tom Stamper
Jun 14, 2015 Tom Stamper rated it really liked it
The late David Halberstam published this ten years ago so the story ends after they win their 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years. Since then we have seen Tom Brady break the single season touchdown record, Brady miss an entire season from injury, more super bowls, controversy surrounding the inflation of balls and the stealing of signs, and yet Bill Belichick has somehow remained true to the picture painted in this story.

I'm not a Patriots fan so I didn't know much about his time with the Giants and his
Jan 13, 2012 Morgan rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, 2012
"The Education of a Coach" follows the life of 3-time Super Bowl winning coach Bill Belichick and his journey to becoming what he is today. David Halberstam goes back as far as Belichick's father's career to show how it influenced his amazing ability to digest film. The book famously lists and discusses Belichick's former coaching positions and interactions with other coaches and players, which is extremely informative of not only Bill but football. Coaches are part of a fraternity in the Nation ...more
Sep 30, 2016 Grommit rated it liked it
Halberstan's "Breaks of the Games" was a magnificent, insightful, superlative book.
This book...not so much. Perhaps I am a bit too familiar with Coach Belicheck's background, so the stories of his father, schooling, and coaching career (Baltimore, Cleveland, Jets, etc) are not new. Perhaps it was this failure to present something that I did not know that made the book appear to be just a retelling of old stories. Anyway, it was ok. Perhaps if you are not surrounded by Patriots' stories, than thi
Jan 27, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it
The Patriots have done something only two other teams have done, win 4 Superbowls with one QB, but only The Patriots and Steelers had the same coach as well. The Patriots won 21 consecutive games between two seasons. Belichick has 6 Superbowl victories that include 2 with the Giants, and another 3 appearences (2 as Head Coach of Patriots and one as Asst. Head Coach under Bill Parcells with the Patriots). This book is a candid look at the Man, taught by his father, who himself was considered the ...more
In this book you get to know the background of Bill Belichik, which is great because not much is known about his life. Did you know his father, Steve Belichik was considered the best football scout ever? Steve and Bill Belichik are both known for their stoic, serious, dry, hard working detail oriented attitude. The attitude of the father passed down to the son. Bill Belichik has found consistent success in football because of his intense preparation. He knows things smarter coaches don't not bec ...more
Sep 10, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it
Halberstam does a great job of making Bill Belichick's rise through the world of professional coaching to the NFL interesting. Much of what makes Belichick such a great head coach was established by his Father, Steve, who as a professional football coach and scout himself, instilled in the young Bill that there was no substitute for hard work and preparation. While I have to admit that Bill Belichick himself isn't the most exciting book subject, the look into the world of professional football c ...more
Jan 05, 2008 Justin rated it liked it
Before reading this book you might have thought that Bill Belichick was a gruff, humorless, asshole workaholic, who happened to be one of the greatest coaches of all time. After reading this book, you'll learn that Bill Belichick is a gruff, humorless workaholic, who happens to be one of the greatest coaches of all time. Who knew? You'll also gain some insight into Steve Belichick, his brilliant scout/assistant coach father who has been affiliated with Navy for decades. As usual with the late Ha ...more
Asish Andhavarapu
Jan 09, 2017 Asish Andhavarapu rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Mr. David Halberstam does a wonderful job outlining the ancestors of Coach Bill Belichick to show where he came from and the type of person his father was before getting in depth into Belichick's coaching career. It provided background and set the tone to show how Bill Belichick really emulated his father not only as a football coach but also as a person. As much as Coach Belichick has accomplished now, Mr. Halberstam made sure to remind readers of the failures and setbacks Coach Belichick had t ...more
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David Halberstam (April 10, 1934–April 23, 2007) was an American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author known for his early work on the Vietnam War and his later sports journalism.

Halberstam graduated from Harvard University with a degree in journalism in 1955 and started his career writing for the Daily Times Leader in West Point, Mississippi. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, writing for
More about David Halberstam...

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“The Patriots had picked Brady in the sixth round, and he soon turned out to be one of the two or three best quarterbacks in the League, and absolutely perfect for the Belichick system and for the team's offense. So, as the team continued to make a series of very good calls on other player personnel choices, there was a general tendency to talk about how brilliant Pioli and Belichick were, and to regard Pioli as the best young player personnel man in the League. Just to remind himself not to believe all the hype and that he could readily have screwed up on that draft, Pioli kept on his desk a photo of Brady, along with a photo of the team's fifth-round traft choice, the man he had taken ahead of Brady: Dave Stachelski. He was a Tight End from Boise State who never a played a down for New England. Stachelski was taken with the 141st pick, Brady with the 199th one. 'If I was so smart,' Pioli liked to say, 'I wouldn't have risked an entire round of the draft in picking Brady.” 2 likes
“the little things were not little things, because it was the accumulation of little things that made big things happen.” 0 likes
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