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The Education of a Coach

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  2,700 ratings  ·  137 reviews
Pulitzer Prize-winner David Halberstam's bestseller takes you inside the football genius of Bill Belichick for an insightful profile in leadership. Bill Belichick's thirty-one years in the NFL have been marked by amazing success--most recently with the New England Patriots. In this groundbreaking book, David Halberstam explores the nuances of both the game and the man behi ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Hachette Books
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Jason Koivu
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
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
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
Roger DeBlanck
Between 2002-2005 the New England Patriots football team accomplished the incomparable: 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 relays 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 becom ...more
Dec 19, 2007 Patrick rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
Scott Bocchio
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
Tom Stamper
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
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
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.
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
Taro Yamashita
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.
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.
I really enjoyed reading about the background and behind the scenes stories of Bill Belichick. As a life-long New England Patriots fan, the stories in this book are outstanding. It is great to hear about where he came from and how he operated with the other coaches around him. There were not quite as many stories as I would have liked dealing with the Patriots and their players, but as a coach myself, I found the information to be fascinating.

I would not recommend this to anyone who is not a fan
M. Newman
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.
Ted Haussman

I did not give this five stars because I'm a Pats and a Belichick fan. I gave it 5 stars because the writing is so good and Halberstam was so insightful -- just a great book about modern-day football. I definitely read it with a mixture of sadness, knowing that that this was one of the final few books that Halberstam wrote before his untimely death.

The great is great at explaining what made Belichick what he is and how he ticks. It's certainly not sycophantic and veils the good and the bad. I co
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
Chris Gager
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
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
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
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
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
"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
I thought that was a great book because it gives lots of detail and good inside information about his father, how he learned from his dad to be a great coach and film reader. The author also talks about Bill and his years through high school and his early career. The only thing I didn't like about this book was that it was very slow in the beginning and didn't catch my attention at first.
This book is an admirable attempt to highlight what it means to be a coach in the NFL. There are two major problems with this book. First and most problematic: the author did not do his homework. There were times when I really questioned his knowledge of football in general. Especially when he said that P. Manning had the rarest of all weaknesses, he can't run outside the pocket. But that's not rare. It's common ground especially from a pocket passer and the gunslinger QB. Plus there were stats ...more
vernon hickey
Surely an inside view of Belichek and the Patriots

As a kid Saturday in the fall was for high school football and Sunday was for townteam football. All the men returning from WWII the growth of VFW and American Legion clubs. All the town's had football teams. It was a precursor making tremendous opportunity for pro football to become so successful. This book is an outstanding cap to all that.
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
Found this book very interesting, particularly reading it as the Patriots made their way towards another Super Bowl (but prior to "Deflategate"). Learned a bit about the coaching world and it's insecurities and learned a little about strategy. Also learned more about Belichick's past and his father.
Jan 19, 2014 Dave rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: nfl
Halberstam is wonderful at describing the various people who have helped and hindered Bill Belichick's odyssey to becoming the most successful coach of the last two decades. Halberstam is a master at interviewing sources and weaving a compelling narrative full of colorful anecdotes. I'm a Boston native and a Patriots fan, but there were many insights and stories in this book that I was unaware of and found very entertaining. But, more than that, it was inspirational to see how Belichick rose to ...more
This was an enjoyable romp, for a Patriots fan, through the life of Bill Belichick. There are personal stories, such as detailing his parents' life as first-generation Americans and Bill's friends in high school and college, but the book is not an exhaustive biography, instead always focused on the impact to coaching, trying to explain what molded one of the best football coaches ever. While the last third of the book glories in the three seasons (over just four years) in which the Patriots unde ...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...
The Best and the Brightest The Breaks of the Game Summer of '49 The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made

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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
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