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Thursday, November 02, 2006
Bill Belichick Trying to Delay Testimony as The Dreaded "Other Man" in Divorce Proceedings?

New England Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick is perhaps the most successful coach in pro sports. He's won three Super Bowls with teams that were generally considered less talented than others, and despite losing his 1st and 2nd best wide receivers from last season (Deion Branch and David Givens), Belichick has coached the Pats to a 6-1 record this season, including a stunning 31-7 victory at Minnesota a few nights ago.

But as we discussed back in July, Coach Belichick--a married man who has been separated from his wife, Debbie, for the last two years--is also a central character in Vincent and Sharon Shenoca's messy divorce proceeding. According to Vincent, a construction worker from New Jersey, Belichick has had a nearly 20-year affair with Sharon, who worked as a receptionist for the New York Giants while Belichick was their defensive coordinator under Bill Parcells. Vincent claims that Belichick has showered Sharon with gifts, calls her all the time, flies her to be at games with him, and has generally destroyed his marriage. In fact, according to Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa in the Boston Herald, Sharon was also Belichick’s date to the Mets-Cardinals League Championship game earlier this month at Shea Stadium.

Back in August, a family court judge ordered that Belichick be available for questioning, particularly as to whether he has financed Sharon's "extravagant lifestyle," including membership in an upscale health club, a personal trainer, a vacation in Jamaica, a beach house rental on the Jersey Shore, travel by chartered jet, and brand new furniture and expensive clothing. Belichick is thus considered a "material witness" in the divorce proceedings--meaning that his testimony is considered essential--and the judge instructed him to "produce any financial records, credit card receipts, or bank transactions that reflect payments to Sharon." Since that time, attorneys for Belichick, Vincent, and Sharon, have been negotiating how and when Belichick should provide sworn testimony and what specific documents he must produce.

Interestingly, Belichick might not have to testify as to any sexual or romantic relations with Sharon because New Jersey is a "no-fault" state, meaning that if a husband or wife wishes to terminate the marriage, he or she can do so without cause and over the objection of the other spouse (although under New Jersey law, "no-fault" divorces are only eligible if the couple has been be separated for at least 18 months and has "no reasonable expectation of reconciliation"). But that doesn't take Belichick off the hook. As noted by Fee and Raposa, "Vincent's attorneys can - and have - asked to see how much money Belichick is forking over because that could have an impact on what Vincent may be ordered to pay his ex for alimony or child support."

Fee and Raposa speculate that Belichick's attorneys are trying to delay their client's involvement in the proceedings for as long as possible. That is not surprising, but it doesn't seem that Belichick will be able to postpone this matter until after the post season, which is clearly what he wants. And if that is true, then I suppose this supplies extra incentive for Belichick and the Pats to land a 1 or 2 seed in the AFC playoffs and thus receive a bye in the first round--and thus perhaps enough time for Belichick to end his involvement in what is undoubtedly a personally-distracting matter. Beating Peyton Manning and the 7-0 Indianapolis Colts this Sunday night will certainly help towards that end.


Yes, I am going to quibble with an appropriately hedged point that is irrelevant to the subject matter of the post. But that's what happens when blogs and sports meet, no?

Bill Belichick is most certainly not the most "successful" current coach in pro sports. Whether his coaching abilities are unsurpassed is another question for another day.

His Super Bowl wins are impressive (and unmatched), but many people seem to forget his inauspicious 5 years in CLE where he presided over 4 of 5 losing seasons. As a result, I think Mike Holmgren and Bill Parcells need to at least be in the discussion for most successful NFL coach.

On the baseball side, Bobby Cox's teams have come up short in 4 of their 5 World Series appearances, but, shoot, 15 straight divison titles and 5 pennants is not too shabby in its own right.

But we all know where this is going. In my opinion, Phil Jackson -- without debate -- has to be considered the most successful current coach in all of pro sports. Over a period of 11 years coaching, his teams won 9 titles. In 15 years, his teams have posted less than a .670 winning percentage only three times. 15 playoff appearances, winning at least one series in his first 14 (and if Kwame grabs that rebound, all 15). 72 wins in '96. Again, whether each coach's accomplishments should be viewed through the talent they had is another issue, but when it comes to winning, regular season and playoffs, Phil is undoubtedly the King of the Mountain.

Blogger RPS -- 11/02/2006 4:40 PM  

rumors are swirling that belichick and bonnie bernstein are dating. no facts to back it up. bill belichick...a playa?

Anonymous Anonymous -- 11/03/2006 10:21 AM  

The guy should charge Belichick for the paternity tests for his two children, maybe they're not even his!

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