Bill Belichick, head coach for the New England Patriots, spent several minutes on Thursday sharing heartfelt memories of his mother, Jeannette, who died on Monday at age 98. During a routine news conference, he spoke about growing up as an only child, and how important his relationship with his mother was to him.
“First of all, I’d just like to thank everyone who’s reached out and expressed their sympathy and condolences for my mom. Especially, Pete [Carroll] had some really great words and John Harbaugh and many others that I know — friends, football people — and honestly, many people that I’ve never met or contacted before, so do really appreciate the support there. You know, as an only child — I mean, everybody’s close with their or has a certain relationship with their mom and dad — but as an only child, I was especially close to my parents. My mom and I spent a lot of time together and she was a great woman. I certainly learned pretty much everything from my parents. And then, you know, with her love that she gave to her grandkids, to Amanda, Steve and Brian, was ultra-special to me as well. So, I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and condolences that have been expressed. She had almost 99 years, so a very long and happy life. So, she’ll be with my dad now.”
‘We watched hundreds of games together’
Later during the conference, a reporter asked him how important his mother’s support was to him, especially since being in a football family (his father, Steve Belichick, was also a football coach) usually means making a lot of sacrifices.
“She was a very unselfish person who sacrificed a lot for her family, and so of course me personally, and I appreciate and love her for that and many other things. My dad was away a lot on scouting trips, and so I always kind of grew up with her on the weekends, on football weekends, at home. So we watched hundreds of games together, whether it was Navy games or listened to them on the radio or watched other games that were on TV and so forth when my dad was away on Friday night, Saturday, and sometimes Sunday morning, depending on how far he had to travel for the games that he was scouting … And we became very close and shared those experiences together.”
Belichick, who sometimes looked like he was fighting a smile while talking about some of these lovely old memories, didn’t just talk about his relationship with his mother. He also talked about who she was as a person and the important work she did during World War II, before he was born.
“My mom was really kind of an academic person. She was very good in college, and then after college she worked for the map service during World War II and translated European maps because she spoke seven languages. Well, six at that time, she didn’t know Croatian. So she was involved in the translation of maps during the war effort, and then came back and taught languages at Hiram after the war in 1945.
“Unfortunately, those language skills didn’t rub off on her son, and one language is really about all I have. But she encouraged me to do the things that I wanted to do. She was very supportive of those.”
Jeannette Belichick may primarily be known for helping to raise one of the greatest NFL coaches of all time, but, she had a full, fascinating life. Without all those experiences, Bill Belichick may have turned out to be a completely different person.
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