‘Miracle’ goalie Jim Craig compares Bill Belichick and Herb Brooks

Andy Hart
February 19, 2020 - 10:55 am

As the goaltender for the United States’ “Miracle on Ice” upset of the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics, Jim Craig knows a little something about coaches getting the most out of their team regardless of outside expectations.

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Craig watched USA coach Herb Brooks build that 1980 team from the ground up and lead it to the greatest upset in sports history 40 years ago this coming Saturday.

In a Wednesday morning interview with the Dale & Keefe Show on WEEI, Craig discussed the topic of leadership as it relates to another great coaching legend, his friend Bill Belichick.

It may not be on quite the same level as the “Miracle on Ice” but Belichick’s Patriots kick started their two-decade NFL dynasty by upsetting the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” in Super Bowl XXXVI.

“What both Herb and Bill have very much in common is, there is only one winner. They know that. So what they do is they focus and prepare to win, not to compete against a team,” Craig told D&K. “That preparation for us was so revolutionary and Herb drove change. I mean we played 61 games in a little over four months. And we played it against the best in the world. So what he did is he put us in positions to fail so that we would know how to prepare to win. As we got closer as teams, the recruiting and how Herb recruited was really great. All the teammates that I played with had won at every level. They knew how to win. In the book, I always say it’s amazing what you can accomplish when nobody has to take credit.

“What Bill does really well, in my opinion, and what Herb did really well, is they don’t take credit for it. It’s their job. They prepare. And they become your confidence. In leadership, there are two types of leaders, there are people who want people to follow them and there’s people who want people to believe them. Herb and Bill are ones who prepare people so that not only do they believe what he’s doing or what the coach is doing, but they believe it themselves.”

Brooks clearly accomplished that with the 1980 USA Olympic hockey squad. Belichick did the same with the heavy underdog Patriots two decades later.

Craig is promoting a new book titled “We win! Lessons on Life, Business, & Building Your Own Miracle Team.”

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