Bill Belichick wasn't always the consensus choice as the best football coach on the planet and arguably the greatest to ever walk the sideline.
It literally took decades of dedicated experience to reach that point. And along the way, the coaching, mentorship and advice of an almost endless number people.
One those men, former Wesleyan University head football coach and Edmonton Eskimos CFL legend Bill MacDermott, died last week of congestive heart failure just nine days shy of his 80th birthday.
While MacDermott may not be the NFL household name of others in Belichick's arsenal of advisors along his football journey such as Bill Parcells or even former Colts coach Ted Marchibroda, he clearly holds a spot in the heart of his former college center.
Belichick played for MacDermott at Weselyan in the early 1970s just before embarking on his own coaching career in the NFL.
"I am saddened to hear the news of Bill MacDermott's passing," Belichick said. "My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the great many people whose lives he touched."
Beyond his work with Belichick and other true student-athletes in the NESCAC, MacDermott coached football for more than five decades at the college, CFL and NFL level.
He taught and touched endless lives, just one of them being that of the future four-time Super Bowl champion coach of the Patriots.