Some great coaches also have great “coaching trees,” a list of assistants who became successful head coaches in their own rights.
And then there’s Bill Belichick.
Belichick has had one of the most successful careers in NFL history, but his coaching tree has laid an egg. Of the five Belichick assistants in New England who have gone on to become NFL head coaches, none has had a particularly impressive record. Here are those five coaches:
Bill O’Brien: 42-38 (1-3 in playoffs)
Eric Mangini: 33-47 (0-1 in playoffs)
Romeo Crennel: 28-55 (never made playoffs)
Josh McDaniels: 11-17 (never made playoffs)
Matt Patricia: 6-10 (never made playoffs)
(Three other coaches — Nick Saban, Jim Schwartz and Al Groh — became NFL head coaches after working under Belichick in Cleveland, but none of those coaches got their head-coaching jobs on the strength of their work for Belichick, so we’ll set them aside here.)
And now Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores is expected to become the next head coach of the Dolphins. Just because Belichick’s previous assistants haven’t done particularly well as head coaches doesn’t mean that Flores can’t. But he’s going up against a trend that may make some Dolphins fans nervous.