ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) —  Jerry Glanville, Raymond Berry, and Bill Belichick learned tricks of the trade under Lion head coach Rick Forzano, who died Wednesday.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

 

Rick Forzano, who was the coach of the Detroit Lions during the mid-1970s and hired a young Bill Belichick to work on his staff, has died. He was 90.

The Lions said Thursday night that Forzano’s family confirmed his death.

Forzano coached the Lions for the 1974 and 1975 seasons, plus the first four games in 1976. He went 15-17.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 31: Detroit Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford with Lions president Rod Wood on the sidelines at Ford Field prior to the start of the against the Green Bay Packers on December 31, 2017, in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

“Rick was a wonderful man and we are truly saddened by the news of his passing,” Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford said in a statement. “On behalf of me, my family and the Lions organization, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the entire Forzano family.”

Forzano was also the head coach at Connecticut (1964-65) and Navy (1969-72).

1985: Head coach Raymond Berry of the New England Patriots stands on the sideline during a 1985 NFL game. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Forzano’s staffs in Detroit included future NFL head coaches Raymond Berry, Joe Bugel and Jerry Glanville. After graduating from Wesleyan, Belichick was a special assistant with the Baltimore Colts in 1975. He then joined Forzano’s staff with the Lions.

“He’s coaching guys that, he’s younger than they are,” Forzano said in 2017 for an NFL Films video about him and Belichick. “But they just accepted him.”

Belichick was an assistant special teams coach for Detroit. He would also coach tight ends and receivers for the Lions before joining the Denver Broncos’ staff in 1978.

HEMPSTEAD, NY – FEBRUARY 4: Bill Belichick, former assistant coach of the New England Patriots, appears at a press conference at the New York Jets training facility 04 February after being named the new head coach of the team. It was also announced that former Patriots head coach Bill Parcells has been hired as a consultant to the Jets. AFP PHOTO/Malcolm CLARKE (Photo credit should read MALCOLM CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images)

Born in Akron, Ohio, Forzano graduated from Kent State in 1951. He coached high school for five years before a college coaching career that included stops as an assistant at Wooster (1956), Kent State (1957-58) and Navy (1959-63).

In between his head coaching jobs at UConn and Navy, he was an NFL assistant with St. Louis and Cincinnati. He joined the Lions as an assistant in 1973 before becoming their head coach.

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Comments
  1. Fred Jk says:

    So there’s a photo of everyone and their brother, but not one of Coach Forzano. Huh?

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