Bill Belichick '75
Beginning his career in the NFL immediately after his graduation from Wesleyan, Bill Belichick ‘75 has achieved something no other NFL head coaches can claim—three Super Bowl rings in a four-year span. As head coach of the New England Patriots starting with the 2000 season, Bill, who lettered in football, lacrosse, and squash while a Wesleyan undergraduate, captured Super Bowl titles following the 2001, 2003, and 2004 NFL seasons. The Patriots enjoyed the first-ever 16-0 regular-season mark in NFL history after the 2007 campaign and played in the Super Bowl for the fourth time in seven years. The Patriots have reached the AFC championship game five times under Bill’s tutelage. Over his eight seasons, he has a remarkable 105-40 overall record with the Patriots, a .724 winning percentage, and has been named NFL Coach of the Year twice (2003 and 2007).
Bill, son of Steve Belichick, a former longtime assistant football coach with the U.S. Naval Academy, gained his first NFL post with the Baltimore Colts in 1975, and then had stints with the Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos before starting an 11-year stay with the New York Giants. There he eventually became defensive coordinator and held that position as the Giants captured Super Bowl titles in 1986 and 1990. His first head coaching assignment came during the 1991 season when he took over the Cleveland Browns, directing that squad for five seasons. He had one year with the Patriots as an assistant in 1996 before spending three seasons as assistant head coach of the New York Jets from 1997–99.
Bill has received both an honorary doctorate from Wesleyan as well as the university’s Baldwin Medal, the highest honor awarded an alumnus for distinguished achievement.