My Take-Aways from the book The Education of a Coach

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 at 09:28 AM with 3 comments

As I have mentioned before, I am a New England Patriots fan. So it goes as no surprise that I would have received the biography on current Patriots coach Bill Belichick for Christmas from my wife, and this was my read for February.

For a book on football, The Education of a Coach had many takeaways for business. The biggest one that permeated the entire story was networking. Even though Belichick’s father was a well-known and respected Naval Academy football scout, on his own he continually sought out connections with coaches, general managers and owners. This is due to the lack of job security in athletic coaching, which in some regards is no different than contracting in the business world. The second, yet of equal importance, was mentorship. Though Belichick was skilled at reviewing football film to analyze past games, he sought out positions that would allow him to continually grow and be overseen by coaches that were willing to take him under his wing. He then paid it forward as he did the same for young and up-and-coming coaches. Where mentorship may not be as much in vogue today as it was years ago in business, I believe it should be.

If you are a football or sports fan, I highly recommend this book. But if you are not a sports fan, you may lose interest in the detailed descriptions of coaches, teams and games. For the fan, the book reads like you are hearing stories of people and games as being told by an old uncle who may have been at the game themself. And if you are a Patriots fan, it fills in many details of the career of coach that has made you proud of your team again!

Note that the title of this book is The Education of a Coach and not The Education of a Man. People who are familiar with Bill Belichick know all too well that he is an extremely private and publicly shy person and abhors the limelight. Where you get great insight into his maturity as a coach, you learn very little to nothing about him personally. There are barely 4 sentences about his family – only mentioning he got married, had to have his family protected when he was the coach of the Cleveland Browns, got divorced and likes to spend time with his kids. In an age where you know far too much about celebrities, as much as this is different it is also refreshing.

Shortly after I finished reading this book, its author, David Halberstam, was tragically killed in a car crash. The Education of a Coach would be his last book, though others were in process or completed but not published. After reading Halberstam’s style of storytelling, I am eager to explore his other works.

This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.

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