Just a few days after his mother, Jeannette, passed away at the age of 98-years-old due to natural causes, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick took time on Thursday to honor her life, brilliance and the bond that they shared.
Speaking to the media, Belichick thanked those who have offered their condolences, including Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh.
“I want to thank everyone who has reached out and expressed their sympathy and condolences for my mom,” Belichick said. “Especially Pete, who had some really great words. John Harbaugh and many others that I know, friends, football people and honestly many people that I’ve never met or contacted before. I do really appreciate the support there.
“As an only child, everybody 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. She was a great woman and I certainly learned pretty much everything from my parents. Then, with her love that she gave to her grandkids, to Amanda, Steve and Brian. It was ultra special to me as well. I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and condolences that they’ve expressed. She had almost 99 years so, it was a very long and happy life. She will be with my dad now.”
A bond rooted in football, and above all else, family.
Heartfelt words from Coach Belichick as he pays tribute to his mom, Jeannette ♥️ pic.twitter.com/vpZmWeurAo
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 17, 2020
Belichick went on to explain how unselfish his mother was within their football family. While his father, the late-Steve Belichick, was the head coach at Navy and would be away on scouting trips, Belichick spent a lot of time with his mother, bonding over football games.
“She was a very unselfish person that sacrificed a lot for her family and me personally,” he said. “I appreciate and love her for that, and many other things. my dad was away a lot on scouting trips, and so I always grew up with her on football weekends at home. We watched hundreds of games together, whether it was Navy games or [listening] to them on the radio [and] watch other games that were on TV. My dad was away on Friday nights, Saturday and sometimes Sunday morning depending on how far he had to travel for the games that he was scouting. So, football season for me was, as a kid, my dad getting home late during the week and my mom on the weekends to watch football games [with]. We became very close and shared those experiences together.”
With that, Belichick admired his mother’s interests, specifically her knack for languages and academics. His parents had met at Hiram College in 1942, where Steve was the head football, basketball and track coach, and Jeannette taught Spanish and French.
Five years ago, Belichick donated to the school and honored his parents by establishing the Steve Belichick Olympic Training Center in his father’s name and for his mother, the Jeannette Munn Belichick ’42 Reading Room on the first floor of the school’s library. He also created the Jeannette Munn Belichick ’42 Endowed Fund, which helps support the school’s library and books related to foreign languages.
“My mom was really kind of an academic person,” Belichick said. “She was very good in college and then after college 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 [then]. She was involved in the translation of maps during the war effort and then came back and taught languages at Hiram [College] after the war, starting in 1945. Unfortunately, those language skills didn’t rub off on her son, one language is about all I have, but she encouraged me to do the things that I wanted to do.
“She was very supportive of those [and] I wish I could have been better in the field that she was very good at, and I tried that for a while but I just didn’t have it, in all honesty.”
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