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The Education of a Coach

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  4,158 ratings  ·  204 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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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,158 ratings  ·  204 reviews

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Jason Koivu
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, biography
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 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, owned, 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
Ericka Clouther
The book contained some interesting insights into Belichick's background and football strategy. The beginning suffered from a lack of chronology jumping back and forth between young Bill Belichick and his father Steve. It also felt like there wasn't enough about his most important time on the Patriots, in part because his early years on the Patriots were somewhat devoid of the bitter politics he encountered at his other jobs, and in part because this book came out in 2005, and since then Belichi ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-3-stars
The nuggets of information about Ernie Adams were more valuable and interesting than the rest written about Coach Belichick.

"That year Agase was a little surprised when he received in the mail, unsolicited, an unusual document, beautifully bound as if it were a college thesis." (41)
Ian Simon
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book gave me more positive feelings about football than actually watching football ever did.
May 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: inspriational, sports
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
Brendan Crowley
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is a very rare gift to turn your hand from being a defining voice on foreign policy to writing truly great sports books. Possibly as difficult as winning 5 Super Bowls. In terms of achieving their own personal greatness, Halberstam and Belichick make a perfect match.

Written in 2005, The Education of a Coach is not a simple biography of Belichick. It is first and foremost a Halberstam book – it jumps around in time and place, it digs deep into his family history and contains chapters that woul
Len Knighton
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a difficult book to rate. I've read an enjoyed David Halberstam's books in the past and appreciated his writing. The literary world is not as full when one considers the books he might have written in the past ten years since his tragic death.
However, the subject of this book, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, is not one of my favorite sports personalities. Indeed, he is near the bottom of the list.
That being said, I have gained a bit more than a modicum o
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Read this book to get some insights into how Belichick's coaching/leadership philosophy. The went into too much depth into side characters and needless background for my taste. But a few takeaways:

1) Being prepared - Belichick does extremely thorough homework about his opponents, in fact he's known for his film study even when he became head coach. He also applies the same rigorous analysis to his own players, taking care to know their strengths and weaknesses so he can value them correctly and
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bill Belichick is the best NFL coach of all time; and Halberstam shows you why. It's a trip through his pedigree, starting with his father Steve, a legendary scout and coach. It follows Belichick through his journey as a young coach, highlighting the lessons learned along the way to the pinnacle of the NFL.

The lessons are simple and apply far beyond football.

1. Preparation. Hours and hours of film study made Belichick more prepared than his opponents. Careful, focused study allowed him to know w
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, sports
Many reasons I enjoyed this book:

* David Halberstam writes brilliantly and masterfully crafts facts into a story. I love his thought process and connections that he makes.

* I have had an appetite for the science and history behind team football. I absolutely loved this year's past super bowl where ironically, the Pats played a hard, old school style to beat the Rams (2019). I am fascinated by the idea of Belickick creating a team first dynasty in a sports era surrounding individual performances,
Mark Gandy
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the Audible version (solid narration), so I was not able to take notes.

First, I'm not a Patriots fan, but I don't dislike them either. Accordingly, I liked this account of Belichick. I had an idea of the man's intelligence as I read a few months earlier, Gridiron Genious by Michael Lombardi.

What to Expect

+ We learn about the integrity and work ethic of his father growing up who was also a coach (I had no idea).

+ We learn that yes, Belichick, played the game in high school and colle
Marcy Guenette
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Audio book: 2 listeners here, therefore, 2 opinions and 4 stars from each but for different reasons. Listener #1 is my husband, avid football fan, and especially for the Patriots - by far his favorite team. This story brought back many memories of games watched and fretted over, and of players and coaches no longer around. Listener #2 is me, avid reader and not much of a sports fan. My roots are in New England so by default I'll root for NE teams over others. I found the Belichick family story v ...more
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
How did Bill Bellicheck get to be the premier football coach of all time? This book looks at his early experiences and development with other NFL teams before he became coach of the New England Patriots. Bellicheck turns out to be extremely focused, organized and an excellent evaluator of football talent. It also helps that his quarterback Tom Brady may be the best at his position for all time.

The author also looks at Bellicheck’s coaching stint with the Cleveland Browns, which was a bit rocky.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this book months ago! I was reading it as an ebook at night and would make it through three or four pages before I started nodding off. I made it to chapter 9 that way. I started listening to the audiobook at chapter 7 and it is going much quicker now.

I was able to listen to the rest of the book over two work days and it went much better! Once I got to Bill-in-Cleveland the book picked up for me. I was more familiar with the cast and had a base knowledge. It was still great to hear all
Deacon James
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Love him or hate him, you have to respect what Bill Belichick has accomplished in his career. This book is an incredible account of where Coach Belichick came from, what drove him, and what it took to achieve success in the NFL. It's a fascinating read, from his early days studying film in Indianapolis, his successes with Bill Parcells in New York, and his failures in Cleveland, up until his third Super Bowl win in the 2004 season. Without a doubt, he's the greatest NFL coach of all time, and st ...more
Jonatan Sotelo
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una obra maestra. Es conocer el génesis de una de las grandes mentes del futbol americano. Escrito de una manera interesante, más como una narración que como una verdadera biografía, entras en el mundo de la familia Belichick desde sus comienzos y entendés por qué, hoy en día, Bill Belichick piensa y actua de la manera que lo hace.

Una lectura necesaria para todo aquel que quiera entender sobre los fundamentos y la filosofía de una de las personas más exitosas y controvertidas de todo el deporte
Andy Klein
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Zzzzzzzzzzz. A boring sports bio. No doubt Belichick is the greatest NFL coach. But his story is decidedly uninteresting. Smarts and endless hard work shaped him. That’s it. And the book would have been better if it came a year later when the author would have had no choice but to discuss Belichick’s outrageous cheating - spygate.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good read about an NFL coach. At times I found the chronology a bit hard to follow. Also for me, an Aussie who follows the NFL closely, it would have been helpful if he explained the tactics and formations in a bit more depth. I found myself going to Wikipedia a lot for terms like single wing, cover 2, cover 4 etc. now for a book about the 49rs thank you, Mr Halberstam.
Erik Potter
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading, “The Education of a Coach,” a 2005 biography of Bill Belichick by David Halberstam (a famous nonfiction author). I highly recommend it. It’s a quick, engrossing read, a good blend of personal story (going back three generations) and football strategy.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I truly enjoyed getting to know and Bill Belichick. I’m not really a fan of his or the Patriots but have admired him from afar for what he has been able to do. At times the book was a bit of a struggle because I’m not a fan of his but I do admire him even more after reading it.
Ben Kester
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
A page turner from cover to cover. It's hard not to root for a nerd taking over the macho sport. BB does have flaws which were ignored in the bio. Sometimes with an excellent story, you don't care that you missed out on gory details.
Roger Gaboury
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Do your job, the Patriots coach teaches his players. His Super Bowl rings prove his philosophy right. And David Halberstam weaves a wonderful story about how the coach - and teacher - gets there. Halberstam did his job.
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David Halberstam was an American journalist and historian, known for his work on the Vietnam War, politics, history, the Civil Rights Movement, business, media, American culture, and later, sports journalism. He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1964.

Halberstam graduated from Harvard University with a degree in journalism in 1955 and started his career writing for the Dai
“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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