There is no doubting that Bill Parcells is one of football’s greatest coaches, regardless of the level of play. Parcells was definitely old school. His football coach at River Dell High School in Oradel, New Jersey was Tom Cahill, who would later become the head coach at Army. His basketball coach at River Dell was Mickey Corcoran, whom Parcells considers to be “next to my father … the most important influence in my life.” Corcoran would serve Parcells as an advisor and confidant throughout his coaching career.
He played at Wichita State and after a failed career in the NFL, decided to go into coaching. He served as an assistant coach working his way through the ranks-Hastings College, Wichita State, Army, Florida State, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt. He was the head coach at the Air Force Academy for one season in 1978 before going to the NFL. He came from the bottom up and paid his dues in full the whole way. While working as a football assistant at Army in the mid 1960’s, he became an assistant basketball coach for a young Bobby Knight, and the two have had a lifetime friendship.
Parcells was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2013. In the last portion of his acceptance speech, he spoke about “what makes a team great.” Below is the classic end of that speech from a coach who knew how to build a team from the ground up.