By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — For professional sports head coaches, the only certainty is uncertainty. The seat is always hot. Guys are coaching for their jobs. And they’re on short leashes.
(Hang on, let me see if I can dig up any more tired cliches about job security of head coaches.)
(I think I’m flush out.)
Anyway, the cliches are worn out, but they’re true. Head coaches in any sport generally don’t last long, and we saw evidence of that today with John Farrell getting fired from the Red Sox after five years on the job. He led them to three first-place finishes and a World Series title back in 2013, but it was generally understood that it was time for the team to bring in a new leader.
Farrell’s selling point upon returning to the Red Sox in 2013 was that he could restore order after a frenzied Bobby Valentine-led disaster in 2012. With a good mix of veteran leaders and role players in 2013, it worked. But as time wore on, and after David Ortiz retired, Farrell lost control of his team on and off the field in 2017. His time had come.
Yet while the firing may be the biggest story in Boston sports at this moment, there is one man who probably has not yet learned of the news. His name is Bill Belichick.
In case you weren’t aware, he runs the show down in Foxboro as the head coach of the local football team. And he’s been doing it for quite some time.
So long, in fact, that he’s now kept his job while the other three teams in town have had 20 different men run their team. Belichick has remained at the helm of the Patriots as 17 managers or head coaches either resigned or were fired.
To illustrate how remarkably steady the Patriots have been at head coach since hiring Belichick in January of 2000, here’s a look at all the other head coaches and managers in town.
Boston Red Sox (7)
Jimy Williams (1997-2001)
Joe Kerrigan (2001)
Grady Little (2002-03)
Terry Francona (2004-11)
Bobby Valentine (2012)
John Farrell (2013-17)
2018 Manager To Be Named Later
Boston Bruins (8)
Pat Burns (1997-2000)
Mike Keenan (2000-01)
Robbie Ftorek (2001-03)
Mike O’Connell (2003)
Mike Sullivan (2003-04, 2005-06)
Dave Lewis (2006-07)
Claude Julien (2007-17)
Bruce Cassidy (2017-current)
Boston Celtics (5)
Rick Pitino (1997-2001)
Jim O’Brien (2001-04)
John Carroll (2004)
Doc Rivers (2004-13)
Brad Stevens (2013-current)
New England Patriots (1)
William Stephen Belichick
Bruce Cassidy, you’re on the clock!
Of course, there are a few reasons why the 65-year-old Belichick has lasted as long as he has. Winning five championships — in a span when the other three franchises have combined for five championships — is at the top of the list.
Obviously, Belichick’s longevity and stability is well-known at this point. But in the wake of yet another change in leadership of a local team, it once again bears some mentioning.
The tide rises, the tide falls, and Bill Belichick coaches the Patriots. And it doesn’t seem like he wants to stop any time soon.