Former Detroit Lions, Connecticut and also Navy trainer Rick Forzano has died at Age 90, the Lions announced Thursday.
Forzano trained the Lions in 1974-76, compiling a 1517 record while the team transferred from Tiger Stadium to the Pontiac Silverdome, however his biography in Detroit is famous for helping start the livelihood of New England Patriots trainer Bill Belichick.
Forzano briefly lived with Belichick’s family in 1959 after joining Navy as an assistant trainer — and writer of Belichick’s father, Steve, on the Navy coaching staff — also asked 10-year-old Bill to break down film.
Years later, after Belichick spent per year as a staff assistant with the Baltimore Colts, Forzano gave the 23-year-old his first full time NFL job in 1976, first as a special-teams assistant and then as wide receivers along with tight ends coach.
“Rick gave me a excellent opportunity here, because if I was with the Colts I did not have a place to coach, I did not really have a group of players that I was responsible for,” Belichick told NFL Films in Detroit in 2017. “After I came here, Rick gave me the opportunity with endings. The possibility to tutor a situation, that is clearly a major step for any trainer, and this was an opportunity that Rick gave me I probably was not ready for, however, I certainly appreciated the opportunity for it.”
Forzano also had prospective NFL head coach Joe Bugel, Raymond Berry and Jerry Glanville on his own staffs in Detroit.
“It was a big part of my own life and development and livelihood, and I’ll always be aware of this opportunity, like I said, that was given to me by [then-owner William Clay] Ford and Coach Forzano,” Belichick told the Detroit News in 2014.
After coaching, Forzano became a colour analyst for football matches on ABC and NBC, along side launching Rick Forzano Associates, that links national and international businesses to the United States military, government and automotive industries.
He coached in school at Wooster, Kent State, UConn and Navy. He was also an NFL assistant in St. Louis and Cincinnati.