Re: Peter King on the Belichick Tree
its a pretty nice writeup
This week's nominee for smartest man on the football planet -- or at least the most forward-thinking one -- is Kraft, the New England owner. In 2000, when he was about to hire a new coach, he ignored those who told him Belichick was a drab and uncommunicative bore who failed at his only previous head-coaching job in Cleveland. And Kraft didn't go all knee-jerk when the Pats slithered to 5-11 in Belichick's first year in New England, nor when Belichick and his personnel man, Pioli, chose to deal franchise quarterback-turned-backup, Drew Bledsoe, to Buffalo in 2002. But the team was building a system in which coaches and scouts and players were trained and developed from within.
Just look at the seeds Belichick -- along with former Browns general managers Ernie Accorsi and Mike Lombardi and college scouting director Dom Anile --planted in Cleveland in the first half of the '90s. "The public doesn't realize what a great teacher Bill is,'' Lombardi said. "He'd rather bring in young people and train them in his way than bring in experienced guys who say, 'Well, this is always the way I've done it,' and wouldn't be as open to new ideas.'' Belichick went only 37-45 in his five years as coach, but check out who was in the football-knowledge incubator during that time:
• Ozzie Newsome, scout and eventually pro-personnel director. Now the highly successful GM of the Ravens.
• Scott Pioli, scouting department assistant and eventually pro-personnel assistant. Named general manager of the Chiefs last week.
• Jim Schwartz, scouting department intern. Named coach of the Lions last week.
• Eric Mangini, coaching staff assistant. Named coach of the Browns this month.
• George Kokinis, scouting department intern. Expected to be named general manager of the Browns this month.
• Mike Tannenbaum, scouting department intern. Conducting his second coaching search now as GM of the Jets.
• Phil Savage, quality control coach and eventually scout. Fired as Browns' GM last month.
• Nick Saban, defensive coordinator. Went on to coach at Michigan State, LSU and the Miami Dolphins; now coaching Alabama.
• Kirk Ferentz, offensive line coach. Now coaches Iowa.
• Pat Hill, personnel assistant. Now coaches Fresno State.
Two more notables from Belichick's New England tenure: McDaniels, hired as a personnel assistant to Pioli in 2001, was named coach of the Broncos last week. Thomas Dimitroff, hired as a scout under Pioli in 2002, was hired as Atlanta's GM last year.
Five men with Belichick roots have gone on to be NFL general managers; that will become six if Kokinis gets the Cleveland job.
Four Belichick men have gone on to be NFL head coaches. (There are others with ties to Belichick, but I count Romeo Crennel and Al Groh as Parcells guys.)
"We were all first-timers in the NFL with no families,'' Schwartz recalled the other day, speaking of the Pioli-Schwartz-Mangini-Tannenbaum-Savage-Kokinis group. "Fifteen years later, you real how special that group was. "It was like getting a Ph.D. in Footballology. Bill had a soft spot for people who came up the way he did -- remember, he entered the league making $25 a week, or whatever it was, as a gopher for Ted Marchibroda in Baltimore.''
Schwartz feared he'd get fired one Memorial Day in Cleveland. Hungry, he went to the meal room to see what was in the fridge. He saw a turkey sandwich and ate it. Later, Belichick came into the room, looking for his lunch -- the aforementioned turkey sandwich -- and was not pleased when he learned the sandwich resided in Schwartz's stomach. But Belichick saw something in Schwartz, an economics grad from Georgetown and son of a Baltimore cop who bypassed big-money jobs to work for next-to-nothing learning the business in Cleveland, bunking together with complete strangers in dorm-like housing.
In the spring of 1995, Schwartz, then 28, was dispatched to Phoenix to study the players on the Playboy All-America team. He didn't wear logoed clothing; he was just there to observe, blend in and look at the behavior, personality, competitive nature and off-field habits of the top college prospects as they hung around for a weekend, being photographed, playing pickup basketball and going out at night. This is what Schwartz wrote in his report about University of Miami linebacker Ray Lewis, the youngest member of the 1995 All-America team:
"Ray Lewis is the most dynamic leader of the group. This guy drips with charisma. He is extremely competitive and constantly challenges other players to games, then he'll keep playing 'til he wins.'' Schwartz strongly recommended the Browns pick Lewis in the next draft, even though some scouts would say he was too small to be a middle or inside linebacker. The Browns moved to Baltimore after that season, and the new team in Baltimore picked Lewis in the first round.
"I'll be forever indebted to Bill for starting me in the business and giving me the kind of education that's gotten me to this point,'' Schwartz said.
One of Belichick's mantra, those around him say, is this: Not all evaluators of talent can coach. Not all coaches can evaluate. But if you can do both, your value goes up exponentially. That's the story of many of the guys from his Cleveland days.
the point isnt how succesful his people have been but how many people he has given the opportunity to grow and make something for themselves.