FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Steve Belichick, the father of
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, died Saturday night of
heart failure. He was 86.
"I coached this game with a heavy heart," Bill Belichick said
after Sunday's 24-17 win over the New Orleans Saints. "My dad
passed away. I found out about it the middle of last night."
The Patriots' coach learned his meticulous game preparation by
watching his father, an assistant coach at Navy for 33 years.
"Obviously, he had a tremendous influence on my life
personally, and particularly in the football aspect," Bill
Belichick said. "It was great to be able to share the tremendous
memories with him and some of our recent successes."
Patriots owner Robert Kraft presented Belichick with the game
ball after Sunday's game in honor of his father's memory.
"I know how important his father was to him, having him [Steve]
here at training camp every year," quarterback Tom Brady said.
"And he was a great man and he raised a great son."
Steve Belichick was a familiar face around Gillette Stadium, and
was the first person Bill Belichick embraced after New England's
24-21 win over Philadelphia in February's Super Bowl, the team's
third championship in four years.
Linebacker Tedy Bruschi doused the duo with a container of
"I was coming up with the bucket and I saw Bill embracing his
father. I thought, 'What a sweet moment. Aw, I'll get them both,"'
Bruschi said Sunday.
"[Steve Belichick] was around a lot, but you had to sort of
twist his arm to get a lot of words out of him. ... Like father,
like son," Bruschi said.
The elder Belichick, a Struthers, Ohio native, played football
and basketball at Case Western Reserve University, graduating in
He played fullback with the Detroit Lions for a year, where he
was a teammate of Byron "Whizzer" White, who went on to become a
Supreme Court Justice.
The elder Belichick served in the Navy during World War II.
After the war, he was head football, basketball and track coach at
Hiram College for three years. He was an assistant football coach
at Vanderbilt and North Carolina, before moving to the Naval
Academy in 1956.
He served under seven head coaches, helped coach two Heisman
Trophy winners, and helped lead the Midshipmen to seven bowl games.
He was also an associate professor of physical training.
"The Naval Academy suffered a great loss today with the passing
of Steve Belichick," Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said.
"He has been a part of the fabric of this institution for 50 years
and has touched the lives of thousands of Midshipmen, staff, alumni
Bill Belichick said his father watched Navy's 38-17 win over
Temple at Annapolis, Md., on Saturday afternoon then watched more
college football on television that night.
"He went peacefully," his son said.
In addition to his son, Steve Belichick is survived by his wife,