JCJC's Perkins gave Belichick early NFL opportunityMarch 12, 2013
By Shawn Wansley, JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – Bill Belichick is best known for leading the New England Patriots to three Super Bowl titles.
But what most casual fans of the game do not realize is that one of Belichick’s first jobs in the National Football League was serving as special teams coach for Ray Perkins with the New York Giants in 1979.
Last year prior to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Ind., Belichick looked back on those days.
“I loved coaching special teams for Ray Perkins,” he said during a press conference at the Patriots’ team hotel. “It was a great job. It was awesome.”
The friendship between Belichick and Perkins – now the head football coach at Jones County Junior College – has endured.
Perkins has invited Belichick to come speak to JCJC alumni, supporters and football fans in general on March 26 at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg.
“An Evening with Coach Bill Belichick” will raise money for the JCJC Foundation, Inc., Football Support Fund.
“He and I had talked about it a little bit last year,” Perkins said. “Several months ago, he got in touch with me and said, ‘Yes, I will come down there and help out.’ I am very happy that he is able to do this for us.
“But that’s just him. He understands a lot about junior college football and what it’s like and the different levels of football. He has been around it a long, long time. He works at it and it’s his life.”
JCJC President Dr. Jesse Smith said this would be a unique opportunity to see and hear one of the alltime great NFL coaches.
“Being able to meet one of the members of NFL royalty is special,” Dr. Smith said. “Coach Perkins was a member of that coaching group and the fact he can provide access to that group brings more validity to what we are wanting to do with our program.”
Perkins said he and Belichick have been close since those days with the Giants.
“He is a good friend and he is one of the guys I first hired when I went to New York,” he said. “He is a very considerate guy and he gives credit where credit is due. He does not mind doing that. That’s one of the reasons he gets as much out of his players as he does. It’s that as much as anything.”
Belichick, a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., got his first coaching job in the NFL at the age of 23 under Ted Marchibroda with the Baltimore Colts in 1975. He served as an assistant coach with the Detroit Lions in 1976-77 and with Denver Broncos in 1978 before Perkins offered him a job with the Giants.
“I remember our first camp at New York,” Perkins said. “I had hired him to coach our special teams. I went into his first meeting and I wanted to see how he conducted a meeting. But after that first meeting, I said to myself, ‘I’ve got a guy who can handle himself.’ He was only 27-years-old at the time.
“I was a little concerned about the age factor because we had some players that were older than him. But that was no problem. He handled it extremely well and he’s handled everything extremely well since then.”
Belichick stayed with Perkins through the 1983 season when Perkins left to become the head coach of the University of Alabama. Bill Parcells became the Giants’ head coach and Belichick would stay and later serve as Parcells’ defensive coordinator.
Dr. Smith said it’s amazing to see how things have worked out between Perkins and Belichick over the years.
“It’s incredible to see how one fellow gives another a chance and that person takes that opportunity and creates greatness,” he said. “Coach Belichick obviously appreciates what Coach Perkins did for him and is willing to come here and help us.
“It’s a chance to show our kids how one person took an opportunity and turned it into something very successful. It’s going to be a special night and we are very appreciative of Coach Belichick giving his time to help us.”
Perkins noted that Belichick never stops coaching. He said Belichick would probably be in the area in late March scouting and checking out talent for the NFL Draft in April.
“It’s not like he just coaches during the season, but a lot of people think that,” he said. “He is somewhere out there now, working out players and scouting players for the upcoming draft.
“You don’t get to the level he has gotten to or accomplish the things he has accomplished without it being your life. He loves it and the results have shown that.”
Dr. Smith said the event would give fans a chance to enjoy some football during the offseason.
“Being able to hear him speak about football and the NFL will be a fun thing,” he said. “It’s a chance for us to re-connect with football enthusiasts, since we are in kind of a ‘dead period’ for football. We are going to have a silent auction, talk some football and have a great time.”
Perkins, who is entering his second year as the Bobcats’ head coach, cannot give enough credit to Belichick and to everyone associated with the March 26 event.
“He will speak to us that night and we appreciate that very much on his part,” Perkins said. “And we appreciate in advance all the people that are going to come out and support JCJC football and the Foundation.”
For more on “An Evening with Coach Bill Belichick” go to https://supportjones.jcjc.edu/belichick-event or call the JCJC Foundation at 601-477-4145.
An Evening With Coach Bill Belichick
Lake Terrace Convention Center
6 p.m. – Doors open
6 p.m. – Silent auction and cash bar
7 p.m. – Dinner
7:30 p.m. – Coach Bill Belichick