Belichick Coaching Tree Taking Root At OSU

While Bill Belichick will be trying to win his fourth Super Bowl in Indianapolis, there will be at least one Buckeye on his side Sunday. Amanda Belichick, Bill's daughter, is in her second season at Ohio State as an assistant lacrosse coach, and the OSU mentor is well on her way to making a name for herself.

Amanda Belichick has heard it all.

Does the daughter of Bill Belichick enjoy wearing hoodies as much as her famous father, the head coach of the Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots? (Yes, they're comfortable, she said). Is the Pats coach as short with his family as he famously is with the media? (Not at all).

So it's a credit to Amanda, an assistant coach on the Ohio State women's lacrosse team, that she doesn't let those questions that come with that famous last name get to her. Instead, the 27-year-old has embraced the family profession and is well on her own way to making a name for herself.

And she's more than willing to let people know what it's like being close to the most famous Belichick.

"We have a lot in common," she said. "We're both passionate about history. We've done a lot of traveling. There's a lot of things that we can connect on. We see movies, read books; things that you would talk about with a friend or parent are the same things we talk about.

"He's witty, he's sharp, he's smart, and those are things that are fun in any person, let alone your father. People give him a hard time for not divulging too much information, but that's not his job."

His job is simply to win football games, and few have been better at that in the past 10 years than Belichick. The former Cleveland Browns coach took over in New England in 2000 and has had an unparalleled run of success, leading the Pats to Super Bowl titles in 2001, 2003 and '04 and making six other playoff appearances. This year's 13-win campaign, the team's 10th in a row with double digits in victories, will end Sunday as the Patriots take on the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.

Amanda has been lucky enough to be a close observer to all the success, and she'll be in the Circle City's Lucas Oil Stadium when the biggest cultural event in America kicks off Sunday evening.

"I've gotten to go through a lot of great things, a lot of great opportunities, going to big-time games," Amanda said. "I've had the opportunity to go to a lot of Super Bowls, which is unique. It's been a lot of really positive experiences, and since I've grown into coaching and have taken on this role, I've taken on another level of appreciation for the things that I was able to go through growing up with an NFL coach as a daughter."

She never grew up planning to be a coach, even though both her father and grandfather Steve (a longtime assistant coach at Navy) are lifers of the profession. In addition to their football prowess, the Belichicks are a lacrosse family, as Bill played the sport along with squash and football at Wesleyan University in Connecticut while his son Stephen played at Rutgers.

In addition, Amanda was always happy to pick up the stick and play in the family backyard growing up.

"It was fun because it was a sport we could all play," she said.

Amanda eventually followed in her father's footsteps by playing at Wesleyan, and in 2006 she posted 33 goals and 19 assists to become just the second Cardinal in program history to top 50 points in a season.

After graduating with a history degree, she took a job at Choate Rosemary Hall, a boarding school in Wallingford, Conn., where the coaching bug first took hold.

"I worked in their admission office as my full-time job and I coached soccer and ice hockey, and what I loved about that job was the coaching," she said. "We've always been a lacrosse family. It's been my passion and it's one of (Bill's) passions."

The thoroughness that has come to mark Bill's NFL coaching was present in Amanda as she worked at Choate Rosemary Hall, and it was what caught the eye of then-Massachusetts head coach Alexis Venechanos.

"She was just so eager to learn," Venechanos said of the time the spent together at summer camps. "In between sessions she would always be picking other college coaches' minds. It was good to see she was working the extra hours and had a good maturity about her. Even though she wasn't a college coach, she had all those intangibles."

That prompted Venechanos to offer Belichick a coaching job at UMass in 2009 then bring her along when Venechanos was named Ohio State's head coach before the 2011 season. Along the way, Belichick has learned both general and specific lessons from her father.

"I think I'm a hard worker," she said, something Venechanos confirmed by talking up Belichick's efforts scouting on the recruiting trail. "I think I care a lot about the people around me. I think it's important to work with people that you trust and keep the people that you trust with you in your personal life and your work. We're both really passionate about education and learning.

"I've really had an opportunity (at Ohio State) to work with him and talk about preparation and really evolve the way I prepare."

When it comes to lacrosse, Belichick said her father remains close to a number of Division I head coaches and is always willing to pitch in some ideas.

"It's very much an outlet, sort of an escape from the football world," Amanda said. "I think he knows the men's game really well, so it's another way that we can be creative at adding things from the men's game that he can help us with. He'll go to some men's game and notice something and then says, ‘What do you think about this?' We can take those different ideas."

Venechanos has been more than complimentary of the skills Belichick has brought to the table.

"Having her creating her own path right now, it's really exciting to see her evolve," Venechanos said. "She's one of the hardest working assistant coaches in the nation. She could be a head coach right now at different levels."

Amanda doesn't have quite the same knowledge of football as her dad does of lacrosse, but like any coach she has a few ideas of what it might take for the Patriots to emerge victorious in the upcoming Super Bowl.

"I think at the end of the day no matter who you're playing or what sport it is, it comes down to execution, every player doing their own job," she said.

Ohio State's season begins Feb. 11 vs. San Diego State in California. OSU's home opener is Feb. 17 vs. Robert Morris, and the Buckeyes will also play twice in Ohio Stadium (Feb. 19 vs. Louisville and Feb. 25 vs. Brown) and take on league rival Northwestern on March 31 in the Patriots' home field in Foxborough, Mass.

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