Bill Belichick, Lacrosse Coach? Why Paul Rabil Believes It Could Happen

'I feel like he would win in the first three seasons'


Jun 14, 2022

Many assume Bill Belichick’s post-NFL life will see the New England Patriots head coach throwing back some cold ones while relaxing on his boat off the shores of Nantucket. Maybe his boat undergoes another name change between now and then.

But what if Belichick throws us one last curveball? One final zig to counter everyone’s zag?

Lacrosse legend Paul Rabil, a co-founder of the Premier Lacross League, believes Belichick instead could transition to coaching a sport some consider his first true love. Furthermore, Rabil is confident that it wouldn’t take long for Belichick to become a winner in the PLL, which is a touring league that visits Foxboro, Mass., every season.

During a recent appearance on “Pardon My Take“, Rabil was asked whether he’s talked to Belichick about the future Pro Football Hall of Famer potentially coaching in the PLL once he’s done in New England.

“Yes,” Rabil said.

When asked whether he thinks Belichick actually is interested in such a move, Rabil gave the same answer.

“Yes,” he said.

Rabil, who played at John Hopkins from 2006 through 2008 before enjoying a decorated, 14-year professional career, then offered his take on why Belichick would succeed as a lacrosse coach. He also offered an anecdote about Belichick once attending a Hopkins practice.

“I feel like he would win in the first three seasons of coaching, if not sooner,” said Rabil, who retired last September. “I mean, I don’t think he really coaches football. He just coaches. He coaches human beings — he’s so good at that. I mean, the amount of (Patriots) draft picks that come out of nowhere that turn into stars. Even lacrosse players, he has a knack for bringing them over into the NFL. I just think he understands the nuance of sports and blueprint of winning better than anyone. …

“(He’d put) smart people around him. He commands an insane amount of respect. I mean, I think I’ve told you guys this, but when I first met him, he came to a Hopkins practice — he stepped into the locker and was mother f—ing us up and down around our stick work and the six-on-six possession. He’s got photographic memory, so he then just, like, he just commands a room. And, all of a sudden, you’re listening to Bill Belichick coach you on lacrosse and you’re bought in.”

Watch Rabil talk about Belichick in the video below. (The clip does contain some NSFW language.)

With Belichick now 70 years old, it’s hard to imagine him coaching another sport. That said, his passion for football has allowed him to coach for longer than he initially planned to. Perhaps his love for lacrosse will inspire him to disregard his own age and take on another challenge.

For the uninitiated, Belichick and lacrosse go way back, well before he made Penn State LAX product Chris Hogan a key weapon in the Patriots’ offense.

He played at Annapolis High School (Maryland) and as a post-grad at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. Belichick then attended Wesleyan University, for which he played both football and lacrosse. He was voted a captain of the lacrosse team before his senior season in 1975.

After graduating, Belichick spent a few years bouncing around as an assistant with multiple NFL teams, including the Lions from 1976 through 1977. During his time in Michigan, Belichick served as a volunteer assistant coach at Detroit Country Day High School. Not much is known about Belichick’s stint with the school, but he spoke fondly of the experience during the week leading up to Super Bowl LIII.

“It was fun to continue to be involved in the sport of lacrosse, in a different community, outside of Maryland or Connecticut where I played,” Belichick said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “… At that time the sport was — it’s obviously grown a lot since then, but it was growing into those areas and was fun to be part of the areas outside of kind of the traditional ones, developing it as a sport.”

Here are some photos from Detroit Country Day practices in the mid-1970s, with Belichick wearing a blue collared shirt:

And the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. All three of Belichick’s children played collegiate lacrosse, with Steve doing so at Rutgers, Brian playing for Trinity and Amanda dominating at Wesleyan.

She’s served as head coach of Holly Cross’ women’s lacrosse team since 2018.

It’s not uncommon for Belichick to pop up during NFL offseasons with a lacrosse stick in his hands. He attended a Maryland practice ahead of the 2017 NCAA Lacrosse Final Four, which was played at Gillette Stadium, and has made regular appearances on PLL broadcasts.

He even talked about Tom Brady during a game in 2019.

Most recently, Belichick finally was presented the Tewaaraton Spirit Award, two years after being named as the 14th recipient of the honor. The Tewaarton Award is college lacrosse’s version of the Heisman Trophy, with the Spirit Award given to someone who “nobly reflects the finest virtues exemplified in the game, and who, over the course of his or her life, has made a significant contribution to society and to the lives of others.”

Rabil and Belichick both spoke at the ceremony, which took place in early June.

So, yeah, Belichick and lacrosse are kind of a thing. Perhaps there’s a line to draw from Robert Kraft becoming a PLL investor last year and Rabil’s recent comments about Belichick.

Ultimately, Patriots fans probably shouldn’t expect to see Belichick scowling and spiking iPads on PLL sidelines anytime soon. But what a story it would be.

Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images
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