Thursday, December 19, 2013

Philanthropist Belichick announces charitable foundation

"Look, I’m sure I would have been fine coaching lacrosse, It wasn’t something I planned this way. But I got an opportunity in the NFL, it led to another one, and before I knew it, it was a full-blown career." - Bill Belichick

Although New England Patriots' coach Bill Belichick' path to coaching started directly out of college in the form of being a  $25.00 per week assistant for Ted Marchibroda in Baltimore, the future Hall of Fame football coach has never abandoned his love for lacrosse, a sport that he played at Wesleyan University, captaining the team in his senior year... it makes complete sense that the man who possesses the sharpest tactical mind in professional football, lives by the axiom "Due Diligence" in leaving nothing to chance, with the humbleness to acknowledge his own limitations and work through them would be the genesis of a charitable organization that would promote both sports.

"The Bill Belichick Foundation aims to provide coaching, mentorship and financial support to individuals, communities and organizations. Focusing on football and lacrosse, its mission is to bring the values of the Belichick family -- a love of sports, coaching and team building -- to the athletic leaders of tomorrow."

Belichick obviously recognizes that the best way for him to promote the two sports that he loves is to make them reachable to those individuals who would otherwise be alienated, to ensure that the intricacies of the sports are properly taught and to edify the team-first attitude that promotes success not just for the individual, but also for those around them.

Belichick already funds a scholarship at Annapolis High School, and this scholarship now will fold into the new foundation, a spokeswoman for the initiative said, and Belichick's longtime girlfriend Linda Holliday will be the Executive Director of the organization and his children will serve as the board of directors.

Two of Belichick's children are coaches - Amanda Belichick, Women's Lacrosse Interim Head Coach at Wesleyan University and Steve Belichick, coaching assistant for the New England Patriots. A third child, Brian Belichick, attends Trinity College and plays lacrosse.

The spokeswoman did not delve into ground floor funding for the project, but did announce that Belichick is sponsoring a raffle, the winner of which will receive off luxury suite tickets to watch the Patriots play the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 29. Holliday will host the suite and the winner will have a chance to meet Belichick.

The winner will also receive $500 for travel outside Massachusetts and an overnight stay at a hotel near the stadium and there are already plans in place to hold a similar fundraiser next spring.

Some may be surprised that the gruff and secretive coach would be the deeply-involved philanthropist type, but the tough personnel decisions and alleged transgressions over the years have painted a public picture of a cold and ruthless man - but when he undertakes a task always strives to make it the best that's ever been.

Bill Belichick showed up in Foxborough, Massachusetts one day around the turn of the century, the object of New England Patriots' owner Bob Kraft's fancy - and it's inconceivable where the franchise would be today if he hadn't.

The friend that Kraft had turned away when considering coaching candidates to replace the volatile Bill Parcells, he did so because he needed a clean break from anything Parcells - and Parcells' fingerprints were all over Belichick.  Kraft told him the main reason that he hired Pete Carrol and didn't hire him in 1996 was because Belichick needed to work on the way he handled people...

...which may have been true, but Kraft admits that he so loathed Parcells that it clouded his judgement regarding the morose Belichick, and when Carrol's team regressed for three straight years after their Super Bowl appearance in Parcells' last season with the team, enough time had passed to soothe the bitterness of those years and discovered that he had made a mistake.

His Patriots didn't need a control freak like Parcells, nor did they need the laid-back coolness of Carrol - they needed a coach, and never mind the people skills.

Fourteen years later, Belichick is taking that decision to the next level.  There are kids and organizations that need a coach and a mentor and the resources that they couldn't afford otherwise, and given Belichick's passion in everything that he does, his foundation should be able to do for them what he has done for the Patriots...

...and since there are none better in the league, their futures just became a lot brighter.

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