WEEI>On Demand>>David Halberstam, Writer Pt. 1

David Halberstam, Writer Pt. 1

Apr 24, 2007|

This is a interview Dale & Michael had, with David, on his book, "The Education of a Coach", on the makings of Bill Belichick, in which he interviewed Bill, his Dad and others, about how Bill became Bill, on November 2, 2005. Halberstam died Monday night, in the San Francisco Area, in a car accident. This is a 2 part interview, conducted in studio.

Transcript - will not be 100% accurate

This hour is with a great deal of pride in pleasure that Michael and I have back in our studios bestselling author and the author of a brand new book available in your book stores as of yesterday. It's called the education of a coach and it's all about what's really about Bill Belichick and Steve bell a check more than anything else but David halberstam joins us and it's great to see you. In my view of Michael obviously made my way earlier he's here with his earlier book. -- ask the question I guess to begin the proceedings why. Why do I do the book there was way to learn means a great chance what Drew you to build knowledge that I've been watching him. -- forever you live in New York area and I have been watching and it fails and probably 1940s mean back when it was a minor league sport before television came in in the mid 50s and made it. The year of baseball when it was really you know. When college football was bigger I liked my father took me two NFL games I think the giants played pullover tee and then and then stadium. In IE and when Belichick news in the early 80s he fascinated me first it was a delicate signature. Whatever the other team did in the first. His defenses and take away. And he was so seemingly on -- communion was indeed in under -- -- -- -- But he did and over for a year and in Wesleyan mean we're not talking football power -- And so he introduced to me -- been working human and about a year and a half ago a friend of his. Mentioned to me that he was interest in doing the book. And was shown interest I've never -- and you know Nash told him goes try to but I was an interest. And we began to sort of explore it by phone and it. Both have houses in Nantucket ironically that I always knew it was there for years sort of looked in the phone book though taking wasn't listed -- well. Don't presume don't call and say let's have once and you would you like to meet me for it was a little. Timid about it but we. Talked a couple of times it was clear he was backing off the year and is backing off very -- tacky and reason for. -- typically don't check you reasons first. If if he did the Maine book into a lot of money from a publisher he'd have to promote. In season he's the politics not going to give up 4568 hours. A week in season to a book or -- to -- 20 minutes. The second thing was he's telling everybody. Not to have ego -- and he did a book like this how we won the championship season it would look like he had ego. So by the time we have lunch about on 15 months of -- team news. And in a little bit about him and I civil war about a book. We have enough time to me. If he's really smart he's smart in lots of others he's not mono dimensional and -- curiosity as to what about a book on the educational. -- you know we learn from and how do you get to be coach what what is the learning process he had two really good 90 year. And he liked it fit well one to comfort. Dinner with unified and if I'm going to do this -- bit of trying to would you trust me like me whenever. Became for dinner and watched very -- Very good cook. On Nantucket -- institute and the funeral offensively or like Jennifer. I never entertain football coach before national he'll be very disciplined he'll go home before 10 O'Clock. Left after midnight is -- very very nice evening. An out of that was his food tentative agreement. To do the book and and they had Super Bowl three years victory. Mercifully and in his offseason Manges them. We started working it do you mean started interviewing my book. No chance for him he would not look at the final version and no money for him but he would know the rough direction I mean he obviously. But the book was going to be how'd you get to where you aren't and I think the fact that so much of it. Would be about as far others do you delicate wonderful man 33 years great coach but who knew his name a -- probably the best scout. These -- should but no when his name and have been the print if there's a photograph of -- this debilitate in anything. But they beat the Baltimore sun at a navy game I'd be surprised I think he wanted it I think he slowed possibly as -- Normal life. Whose father and at the great point you know what I think that the title of the book education -- coach I liked the fact that you put in there. People who know bill politics understand them pair phrase that people who know him understand he is just as much his product of his mom as he has his dad -- talk about his mother's influence on him because as you pointed out she's a wonderful -- She's terrific on the Internet -- him go to Yankees. Was teaching at Hiram College. From college in Ohio football coaches of the generation. Come out of come out of one way -- another of the Paul grounds school which makes what happened to me Cleveland -- particularly satan an ironic. And she was just very pretty very by young woman I think. A notch a class and the scrutiny. One or two above Steve Belichick who's on Corey Croatian immigrants out of this -- moved to Pennsylvania western Pennsylvania and only go to college because he was a very good. But he was driven and he's very smart and this unlikely. Marriage of these two wonderful very. Different people -- Steve says all her friends thought she was crazy she liked -- -- why would -- and read the New Yorker. In I was a football coach I was to drop. And if his last more than 50 years in new ones but she was teacher. And bill is a great teacher first and foremost if you go and interview him you're asking a question. Maybe ten times in the you know -- -- and -- group it would drawing board blackboard. And draw something -- you I mean he must just spent three special session stride. Get me to understand cover to -- fourth at the very end I finally have -- especially -- and she's very disciplined. I mean everything is great attention to detail that he's a very interesting combination of both. Via the the most interest in chapter for me in an in an extremely interesting book dealt with the relationship between Bill Parcells and Bill -- something that I think many people don't understand to this day. As you pointed out. They work friends they weren't alike and in any way shape or form except for the fact that they were both football coaches. They they had as each got a loss out of the association with the other I mean it was. It wasn't an on marriage they weren't I mean everybody thought of them together because of the giants took off. When they married up and I mean under the ages the original person who brought them together was ray Perkins. The very tough guy who was to be bear Bryant's. Successor -- about -- brought him in and they couldn't be more different Parcells is. Do living embodiment of -- to the leaders one of the Vince Lombardi prototype of Croat. You know emotional making players to go in hitting the emotion. Getting guys to play harder. You know making them feel they're wins if they can't do it. And then. Bill Belichick who really although on -- -- fancy kind of menial defendant of bill Walsh should read Berle. -- doesn't play with the emotions of his players things that everything can be broken down an analyst. But they came together and it really worked -- mean. Parcells knew how to run a team how to get the emotions and Belichick was the creator of those great defenses with great players. They stayed together to wrong. It got harder and harder are -- thing. The more ballot -- him -- to parity. I mean the -- you know people began to give him credit for putting the mortgage greeted on Parcells. And they probably should have gotten divorced about two years before they did. At one point in the book you talk about. Bill Belichick in -- you talk about his personality how he's unadorned that this report guy. You that you get to answer machine says. Sorry to have missed Q and you say but inside it's hard to have missed it -- that's not like he was delighted -- -- -- -- -- bill. Or commitment to call. Believe -- name I don't know -- I mean it's like. Tanker -- exactly what were you surprised at the the public image that you know built the public image of bill politics Bill -- in the press conferences and a -- you got to know because there is a huge difference. They're very different I think he's extremely cautious and careful in his professional in Carney and he's aware of the scrutiny on him which is in need where. -- me your face actually victories and the fact that the -- brought to millions of this is far too much and I think he has learned. Television is addictive and generally destructive addictive. Through the concept of team and he. Both Houston if he's caught smiling he hopes to track. Or caught making a joke. I think -- maybe -- that when Natalie Stevenson lost to Dwight Eisenhower in in 1952 was because he was found to have had -- good sense of -- made too many jokes with I think he's thinks that he's caught smiling it's a subtraction. And maybe it'll weaken him with these players who would ever so there's a kind of steady NFL game face. I think it's partly what he put on when he first came and when he was young from he was almost too -- he was from Wesleyan. He had played in Italy in big big time school he had to prove to all these regards that he was tough. And he put on a harder. Faith that showed no emotion and it is -- his purpose. In private he's funny he's loose he has old inviting friends that he days where -- The friends and family which brought him first to. Nantucket more than 30 years ago I mean he's he's got great loyalty does an enormous -- very quietly. Pro Bono work for charities that he and his. Wife have been very furious people on the cherry on he's interest you in the law of -- and he's not. The person who coaches and it's very funny immunity and then we did the book we've worked together very -- community initiatives. The book is consistent you ever read one of my book. It's never -- -- it from all he said he said Bobby Knight I've feasted first read was the best and brightest. Bobby Knight basketball coach at West Point -- from Parcells about told me to read because it's the best book every set on so -- But one on Iraq that will be comparable or a that that he couldn't they screwing up to Bobby he. And bit you know I think when you let me which is. And you've used to Michael that he is straight that there is a food in her honor. And ethical fan. That he has he doesn't manipulators players I mean if anything it's almost cold doesn't give them emotion he doesn't play with -- sensitive. Exactly and I in and that reminded me of another section in your book. Which was perfect in Cleveland. When you talk about recruiting the players -- you know free agents in your whining indicting them you'd taken statehouses. I think it was guy -- -- -- -- why are we doing this this is -- who we are and and Rodney Harrison tells the story when they brought him here. They took him to pop Derosa out with Annika hey rod this is the way originally we lately feel this way. Do you accept the deal or not he has a straightforward than -- as we. Play with the emotions that we did in Cleveland you went. Man it is a very good writer. Rights laws for GQ evening Peter Richmond he really really -- one year I was -- one of the judges on the sports writing of the year we reported to have his I want to put him 30 was a good. He did PG like -- very much he did a piece on him and what he says he told me when it column with. Everybody wants him to -- Be more charismatic and -- around I mean a lot of people in the media wanting to be more charismatic do these things have more charm. And their angry at him when he isn't when he is what he is which is a very good football coach and he -- It's almost as if they subtract points in judging him. Because he is what he is an Asian. Characterize they would like him to be more in authentic they'd be more comfortable if he fit what they think. A coach should be rather than just being who. He is an an Ernie Adams whose longtime friend and assistant coaches yesterday the quote George. Young's fingers along owners in this league. They don't care at all how good coaches as long as on the sideline he looks like the Marlboro man and you know that -- shot off and he had a few looks like a leader. And is it in a way he's been judged on that that he doesn't look football coach -- enough. It's interesting you bring that up that in my opinion interest in people are complex characters by definition and I think he's -- very complex character. In you're talking about a sideline demeanor I think he cultivates this. Monk sweatshirt things that the you know he wants all the credit to go to the team he doesn't want to talk about individuals. But he hasn't -- or you can't do what he does and not have a very. There you go after you mean turning down in -- book in all stuffy. Very consciously not doing things but the ego is very considerably you can't do what he did right. And grow all the way to the top and then excel -- he's excelled at the top. For 20 years giants. Jets patriots even actually underneath all -- German drying it Cleveland there is a good coach at work there heat index fell. You can't do that without. -- ego what it is just he's not into self celebration. He's into meeting the challenge to being the best -- pushing himself. Following his desires to -- ultimate. Ability and that's where the satisfaction comes. From being the best growing into the toughest to Urbina and -- and there's a quiet. Satisfaction it's someone that is it any fun for most of -- think -- and applicable word I think it's about. Probably the culture he grew up in the -- farther. Immigrants on raised in the depression very hard times min name. Belichick mangled -- -- all this stuff. Laughter was not a natural gift it was to do well. Not wish to anything and excel in certain Arenas and the match. That he's done and the ego worked there and he doesn't do the would lose players by and large. Celebratory warned him they would they would have to be careful with how I say this because talked to a guy who tears up. During the got a product here an unusual moments under kill people and -- apart though but. I think part of this story I think is very beautiful and sentiment. The relationship between he and bill and their relationship great story between. Bill and Ernie to -- -- about how many times. You were able to have the same careers -- high school buddy you both know your prep school but he you both you'll be coaches. You do it you have entry level positions in the NFL and you go all the way up to the highest point your profession we went three Super Bowls together with when he your best -- 30 years they've been together in 1975. Another great football powerhouse Andover news Ernie Adams who -- -- seemingly nerdy guy not a very good. Particularly good player but a football -- I mean he's already a -- I mean he's been coaching since he went group in Boston at the Dexter -- -- it intramural. Of -- news about ten years old intramural football and he didn't think the teacher was doing a very good -- job coaching start telling the teacher what to do. And the teachers -- -- you coach and so we did and they did better. And he gets to and over he's already he goes to -- north eastern. -- -- goes to the do you practice. Spring practice that he's up the most ultimate top level taking notes he's got these new homes he's read every book. In his senior year they do these things called -- PG post graduate he notices. And he's got a book on. Notice most boring book in the world sold 500 companies that written on when Stephen telecheck. Assistant coach of -- -- how to scout that year football practice in the fall shows up a young man named. Telecheck who's from Annapolis he goes -- can barely contain himself. Our views on of the famous writer coach Steve Belichick and how does that mean they have. Billion in sync. And how -- think the 30 years and and very -- was wonderful on incredibly smart line. Is ballot checked Belcher. I mean as good with no computer like memory of everything that ever happened. In football who did what what the score or what pleased I mean it's a great little computers in there and he's one and Indians need. Friends all these years. We do a showdown at the stadium every Monday and where there every week and and I have been around this team for along time. I wouldn't know earning -- if you watched that door and you know what 99% of patriots fans couldn't pick him out of the lineup. Isn't there one day they were doing things up on the screen in in the patriots won the -- uses the -- definitely they did a huge. Photo -- it is under the caption who is this man and what does he do question Mark. And that is a question that art Modell once when they Cleveland Modell said. I'll give 10000 dollars to anyone who can tell me what Ernie Adams does you know he's on my zero. He's a coach I just would like to know what does well he's. Bill -- alter ego and in the high water Mark of Belichick coaching careers been great for huge bull. Win over saint -- program team that was. On goal and NFL golden team one of those perfect teams I mean on a roll the should've won by 21 points. The game point to -- the rams. Out of there. Playing me. With equally bill. And Gurney and -- mean they both soul with -- that you didn't. -- -- do it timing didn't come from Warner became from the great Marshall fall in if they could pay Paul. Out of his terrorism they could disrupt the whole -- that and that is the great. Coaching job of -- -- they should have been on the same field with the rams. The book is called the education of a coach published by hyperion available in your bookstores right now. David halberstam is the author we're talking to David I was I was. Actually stunned -- little bit as he was describing telecheck few moments don't think and he's describing Theo Epstein. And deal is a huge Belichick fan I think -- try to model themselves try to -- and some ways after the Belgian. -- Zurich the -- that they they sound identical as you were describing him welcome back and talk more with David just a moment Sports Radio WE

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