Halberstam to Kick Off Book Tour

Bill Belichick ’71 has spent 31 amazingly successful years in the NFL. He has won three of the last four Super Bowls as the Head Coach of the New England Patriots, has surpassed Vince Lombardi’s record for postseason wins, and has attained the highest postseason winning percentage in NFL history. David Halberstam’s new book, The Education of a Coach, uses colorful anecdotes to provide greater insight into Mr. Belichick and the NFL. Mr. Halberstam will come to Andover to kick off his book tour at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 4, in Cochran Chapel. He will be joined by Ernie Adams ’71, the Patriots’ Director of Operations and a classmate of Mr. Belichick. The Education of a Coach is Mr. Halberstam’s seventh sports book. In it, he examines effective coaching techniques and Mr. Belichick’s psychological make-up as a person and a leader. In his book, Mr. Halberstam reminds readers that “residence at the top is as much a product of good fortune as it is of talent, willpower and planning.” He confirms that the original source of Mr. Belichick’s coaching acumen is his father, Steve Belichick. Mr. Belichick’s father was a teacher and college football coach who taught his 9-year-old son to scout players and to study game film of players and opposing teams. Mr. Halberstam theorizes that Mr. Belichick has borrowed his coaching style from the various coaches with shom he has worked during the course of his lifetime, including former Andover varsity football coach Steve Sorota. Mr. Sorota was a player-empowering coach who viewed himself more as a teacher than as a coach. The Education of a Coach spends as much time discussing Mr. Belichick’s high school and college years as it does his NFL career. Mr. Halberstam first became interested in Mr. Belichick when he noticed him as a Linebackers Coach with the New York Giants in the 1980s. The Education of a Coach seeks to tell the story of an achiever’s rise to the top of his sport and along the way give readers a slice of social history. Mr. Halberstam is considered to be one of the nation’s most prolific social and political commentators. Writing for the Nashville Tennessean after college in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Mr. Halberstam reported on the beginnings of the civil rights movement. In the mid 1960s, he covered the Vietnam War for The New York Times. Mr. Halberstam’s reporting was so accurate and effective that President John F. Kennedy requested that he be moved to another bureau. In 1964 at the age of 30, Mr. Halberstam received the Pulitzer Prize in journalism for his coverage of the Vietnam War. Mr. Halberstam has gone on to write 20 books, 14 of which have been bestsellers. He writes not only about sports and politics but also about history. His most famous work is The Best and the Brightest, a stinging criticism of the role of Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, in the Vietnam War. Mr. Halberstam examined the Eisenhower era in his novel The Fifties, as well as exploring the civil rights movement in his book The Children. Juxtaposed with these more serious topics are his books on sports. His books The Breaks of the Game and Playing for Keeps, both about basketball, and Summer of ’49, about baseball, are considered legendary pieces of sports writing. On Friday, Mr. Halberstam will speak on his works and then take questions and sign books at the end of his talk. The Education of a Coach will be available for purchase starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Chapel lobby. All proceeds from books sold will be donated to Andover’s Disaster Relief Fund.